Max, Marc, Morgan, Miller, and Mac,
This is another instruction on hope. As I consider what I previously wrote, I felt like it was a cold and mechanical thing. I would bet technical manuals are more exciting and interesting! As I said before, I struggle to explain the nature of hope, for it is so simple, but it touches everything. Let’s try looking at a few pictures of hope.
First, consider Las Vegas. This city is built on hope, and nothing else is it’s foundation. So many countless hordes of people go there because of hope. True, it is such a small hope and for most, a false hope. The odds of winning are…well, the casino owners are rich, and the gamblers are not. The object of their hope, money, is hardly a worthy vessel. In Vegas, we can see the power hope holds over others. Even when it’s small and in a weak object, there is much motivation for action. Our hopes control our lives. There is no faster way to self-deception than a false hope! (“Yea, most people don’t win, but I WILL!!”)
What is better, the anticipation of Christmas or it’s aftermath? Even if we unwrap everything we dream (and let’s even assume our dreams are good), hope is always more meaningful and motivating the possession. You stop climbing when you reach the top of the mountain. We can tell much about a person’s maturity (or our own, of course!), based on the what causes their satisfaction or frustration.
Have I said this yet? Maturity is to hope in the right things to the right degree. Most hope too much in the wrong things, and therefore live empty lives. Vegas is not evil, in and of itself, it is how much hope we place in Vegas which can be foolish.
Here is my last picture of hope for you to consider: fear. Pick any fear and think about it for a moment.
Many fears appear to be complex, but a little reflection sheds a lot of insight. Fear is a flavor of hope, and it’s not one we were designed to taste for very long. Fear is acute hope, and it’s object is the avoidance of some kind of pain. Fear calls us to quick action, and that can be a great thing. Should a bear rush upon you as you read this, you ought to be afraid! No doubt there have been times that I have caused you to fear… I hope they have been wise and proper, and not born out of my pride or guilt. …but now I’m way off of our subject.
Living in fear for the long term burns us out, makes us less sensitive and more reactive. We were created to run toward something, not to run away from something!
The questions now may be obvious for you, or some of you. What are your hopes…are they too strong, too weak? What are the greatest hopes we ought to reach for? Are all of our hopes found in Christ? How well do you know your own hopes? Why did you get out of bed this morning? When are you the most frustrated? when are you the most fulfilled? Which of those—frustration or fulfillment—characterized your life for the last month or so? What are your deepest fears? Which ones to you carry with you every day? Is fear a constant companion?
To live is Christ, to die is gain. These contain the greatest hopes that I have discovered. Every day is a day to be faithful to the calling of Christ. Every day is a day to remember our citizenship in heaven, the promise of a better place, a perfect place where there is no more pain and strife or disconnection for God.