The last year has taught me a lot. But one of the things that I can’t get over is this idea of hope. It’s a strange tension of all the things that could be but not wanting to believe they could happen. I’m convinced that a lot of people aren’t hopeful enough.
I never used to think I had a problem with hopelessness until a hope I’d unknowingly built my life on was suddenly taken away. Then I wrestled with months of seeming hopelessness. Jesus hadn’t gone anywhere but my perception of my future had changed. I didn’t trust Him to come up with anything better than I had imagined. Then one day I remember having this thought ‘but what if it was better?’ Like somehow what if God was better than I’d ever imagined and my small hopes had somehow weren’t cutting it.
I used to think hope was more cookie cutter, straight forward and predictable. For the likely mundane things that were part of life. They seemed worthy of risk and I’d be okay if they didn’t workout. I began to realize that if my hopes and dreams weren’t big enough it was like I’m not fully alive. I honestly feel like this plagues the church. Hope is built on the foundation that God is good and He will do good (Psalm 119:68). I’ve found that religion will tear down hope in the name of ‘wisdom’ and promote false humility that will kill self esteem and confidence. David says that he would have despaired had he not had hope that he would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13). It’s like in my hope I say I remain convinced of the goodness of God for my life and I don’t budge.
Josh Baldwin’s song ‘Get your hopes up’ kept playing again and again in my mind until I realised that God was telling me to get my hopes up. I feel like I keep hearing God whisper that my hopes aren’t big enough. That I need to raise my expectation and dream bigger. It’s like if I’m not doing that I’m not fully breathing. Like a spiritual vital sign is hope. Hope is so vulnerable but I’ve found it’s the only way. It’s like otherwise I’m somehow short changing God of His best.
God told me to dream again before going to BSSM and I was pretty offended (I’m a big dreamer). Then He told me about a healing in my own life that He was dreaming of if I was willing to dream with Him. Honestly, it was too much to start with but then I began to realise that He was just that good.
I would never tell my niece to water down her dreams. Even if she’s two and a half and her dreams seem ridiculous. That seems cruel to me so why would I tell myself that. It’s a lie that lowering my hope and expectations keeps me safe. Abi Stumvoll says that ‘love always produces hope’. ‘When you know God’s eye is on you, you naturally feel hope.’
It’s like living a reality where I need God to come through and in this strange tension of vulnerability heaven has to touch down. It’s so drawn to something marked by His goodness and needing His impossibilities to become reality to move. If I’m not willing to hope they won’t happen. Hope is leading me down a path of His goodness and His heart for me. If I’m not willing to hope I’m deprive myself of encountering the goodness of His nature.
I’ve decided that I can’t afford to partner with this thing of hopelessness because it will kill the dreams that God has put inside me. I won’t always have the answers for why things do or don’t pan out the way they do but I can’t afford anything else anymore because that’s just not God. I won’t risk not dreaming to avoid feeling vulnerable.
I was never made for broken union with my maker. I know intimacy is vulnerable and if God doesn’t come through I’ll fail but my dreams won’t work without Him. He’s worth the risk. Allowing my heart to hope has become the only way for me.