Friday, 9 May 2014

Where Does Our Hope Come From – Really?

 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:9  N

There are a number of versions of a story about a Sunday school class of precocious five year olds.  The teacher asked the kids, “What has a bushy tail and gathers nuts?” The kids gave him blank stares. “Come on kids!” he tried again. “Bushy tail? Gathers nuts? Climbs trees?” Finally a young man replied, “Well, I know the answer is Jesus… but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.”

So the question about where does your hope come from is probably rhetorical.  Intellectually if you are a born again Christian you know our hope comes from the Lord.  To which I would add really?

 Hope is the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one's life or in the world at large.  So far, so good.  Who doesn’t want a positive outcome?  Aren’t most of our prayers phrased in such a way that we are asking God for a positive outcome?  More specifically aren’t we asking God to fulfill our prayers in the way that we deem the outcome would be positive?

When God chooses to remain silent or answers our prayers in an unexpected and seemingly unsatisfactory manner don’t many of us tend to lose hope?  So basically if the infinitely wise Creator of the universe and everything in it acquiesces to our wishes then our hope comes from the Lord, but…

“Well, we’re not exactly saying that.”  Then what are we saying?

We need to remember that Jesus prayed to His Father “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Here is God’s Son saying “not my will but Yours.”  His ways are much higher than ours and His thoughts are well beyond anything we can comprehend.

Is it wrong to be specific, to ask God to help our struggling marriage, to restore our broken relationships, to heal a loved one, etc.?  No. It is not wrong to ask God for outcomes that suit your desires, particularly those in accordance with His will.

Since God’s thoughts are higher than ours it might be more fitting, and more hopeful, to pray “Father show me how my heart needs to change so that I am the husband/wife that you have called me to be.”  “Father please show me how to make amends and reconcile with my estranged son/daughter.”  “Father you know how much I love my mother/father and I would ask that You heal her/him, but ultimately Father you know best, Your will be done.”

The real hope comes from knowing that God’s way is always the best way, and we can count on that.

 

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