A short musing on hope
I’ve been thinking of HOPE for a long time now. Partly because what we are conditioned to ‘hope’ for, by daily messages from the world around us, feels so ‘thin’.
I grew up in Zimbabwe, aware of death and poverty around me – but also aware of, in many cases, robust ‘plump’ hope. That hope felt ‘weighty’. It was a hope that sustained, encouraged, bought joy, fuelled endurance. It was a hope that saturated every part of life. It was an immediate and ‘far away’ hope. It was mostly seen in those that had the least, or so it seemed to ‘natural’ eyes. It was the hope of Jesus followers who - despite lack, labour and loss – lived a ‘rich’ life and yet looked forward to the next life as true riches.
Ever since I moved to the UK, I have grown increasingly aware of the lack of that hope around me, and the gentle waves seeking to erode it in me. Hope here can feel ‘thin’, ‘temporary’ and ‘flimsy’. It is short-term. It takes away from today rather than gives to it. For example; ‘Work today really sucks and I am just getting through because I hope to save enough to go on holiday in the summer.’ (Then Covid hits – flimsy hey?!).
Loss of deep future hope leads to aimlessness, crippling disappointment (in in self, others and stuff!), lack of endurance, oscillating highs and lows, lack of conviction, preaching that finds it hard to speak of suffering, idolisation of approval, degradation and dignity of everyday endeavours…sounds bleak hey?
Christian HOPE is robust, immediate, future, redemptive. It is so future rich that it causes us to invest now. Investing our BEST - our all - assured that come what may, the then is abundant. Jesus taught us to pray ‘Let Your Kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven’ – so clearly the now needs that kingdom and it is attractive and wonderful that we want it now! We yearn for the full experience of that kingdom but while here, we HOPE to see more and more of it right here and now…in my job, my family, my body, my mind, my circumstance, my city, my village, my town, my nation…it is immediate, it is action stirring, it is sustaining, it is wonderful! It is the rule of Christ, His Kingdom, his very self!
How is your hope? Is it taking away from today for the sake of tomorrow or offering such a tomorrow you want to bring it to the here and now? It is helping you endure without being crushed? Is it helping you say no to sin out of anticipation of something greater to come? When you make mistakes and mess up, it is helping you walk on in redemption or are you washed away by regret?
When you consider your end what do you feel? Only disappointment and regret and sadness (all real) or ALSO (and primarily?) hope and anticipation of Christ? In all his fullness, experienced without the nagging presence of sinfulness that diminishes all things that are truly glorious? True hope does not make one ‘too heavenly minded to be any earthly good’ but rather so heavenly minded that we labour all our given days to see that goodness (Christ and His kingdom) come here.
Hope. Hope. Hope. Thick - thick vanilla milkshake thick hope, not thin watered-down breakfast buffet apple juice thin, but thick.
Weighty and wonderful hope. Him.