Last week I proposed to you that waiting serves a purpose in us. It teaches us to hope. How do you use the word “hope” in your everyday language? What does it mean to you? Maybe you say things like, “I hope the weather clears up” or, “Let’s hope that doesn’t happen” or, “I hope you get well.”
Years ago, when my eldest son was in the fifth grade, he had a vocabulary homework assignment in which he had to match a series of words to their correct definitions. One of the words was “prayer.” He brought the paper to me, and said, “Mom, something is wrong with my homework. There is no definition for “prayer” in this list.” I glanced at the list and had to agree with him. We completed the matches for all the other words, and do you know what the remaining definition was? “A strong wish.”
Dear friends, if we are relegated to a prayer life that consists of strong wishes, we are miserable and bereft indeed. Thank God that He ordained prayer for us to commune with Him, to be edified, strengthened and encouraged by His nearness and trustworthiness. Prayer connects us to the eternal Truth, and that is way better than a strong wish. Pardon the childhood idiom, but it does rather make the point, I think. His better way is way better.
Hope, likewise, is more than just wishing. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “Now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” Notice the word “remain.” This indicates to us that hope, like faith and love, is an eternal element. One that will remain when earthly things have faded. In fact, faith, hope and love do remain when earthly things fade, crumble, or disappoint us. Romans 5:5 tells us, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
On what, or in what do you hope? Are you hoping your children prosper? Are you hoping for a good report from the doctor? May I suggest these are wishes you need to turn into prayer to the living God who is all your hope? He alone gives life and sustains life. He alone is worth all that this earthly life will cost you. If you believe Him, expect Him to be who He says He is. Expect Him to do what He says He will do. Expect Him to show up, and expect Him to honor His promise to give you eternal life.
Heavenly Father, what joy is mine to be authorized to speak with you in Jesus’ name. Because of His sacrifice, I come without fear and without shame to lay my petitions before you. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. Thank you for hearing me. I am settled and at rest because I know you have heard me, and you are entirely trustworthy. No thing can separate me from your love. I am kept by the power of your love. Held forever by eternal hope that pulls me toward my place in your house. Bless these dear ones whose hearts are turned toward you in faith and hope. Pour out your Spirit upon them and make your face to shine upon them. In Jesus’ name, amen.
As you continue in this Advent season, look each day with expectant hope to see His good will toward you and those around you. Tell Him about your dreams, and ask Him to purify your desires.
Until next week, live expectantly.