For some, settling for a little of something is better than nothing. But what if that something keeps you from getting everything? What if settling for what you can have right now means you forfeit the beautiful plan God has for you? What if the hope you place in today’s world keeps you from finding your hope in Christ?
Everyone assumes that we can’t live without hope; that hope is necessary to keep us moving forward. But what if that hope is actually holding us back? I spent years hoping my ex would return to being the man I married. I would get a little glimpse of that man who wanted so much more than to be who he is today, and it would give me hope that his eyes would finally be opened. That hope in a person who constantly disappointed me, nearly destroyed me. I lived in continuous stress, anxiety, and abuse because I had hope it all would change. In fact, I lived with that hope until very recently when I realized that hope was keeping me from moving forward. With every lie and every deception, I was suffering more because I just kept having hope that he would realize his wrongs and change. His recent attacks on my character and his blaming me for consequences of his own making, have become the very thing that made me realize I was placing my hope in someone who will forever disappoint me. My hope that he would become a better man and father was keeping me from seeing the reality of who he actually is.
When we place our hope in the secular world, we are asking for constant disappointment. When we hope for the raise or job promotion and we don’t get it, we are disappointed. When we hope for healing and it doesn’t come, we are disappointed. When we hope for a friend to stand by us and they don’t, we are disappointed. Even the church will disappoint us. We hope for the church to be better than the rest of the world, but the people are still human and will disappoint us.
Letting go of the hope of this world actually opens doors to a better life. I think today we all have hope that the world will change and become a better place. Instead, if I quit hoping for others to change and focus only on my change, my world will become better. Maybe not the whole world, but at least the small part I live in will be better.
Letting go of hope means letting go of expectations. Rather than working hard for the hope of more money or more power, work hard for the sake of doing your best. Rather than continuing in a toxic relationship that you hope will improve, let it go for the sake of living your own life. Rather than reading that book for a better grade or to impress someone, read it for the sake of learning and growing. Quit doing things for the hope of a certain outcome or you are destined to be disappointed. When we live in expectation and hope of attention, accolades, status, wealth, or love we live in denial of our reality today. We live a life that is not our own, it’s someone else’s or it’s one we’ve made up in our heads to fit the life we want. Hope in anything or anyone other than God will result in a life of loneliness, despair, and falsehoods. That constant hope of betterment makes us reliant on the things and people of this world rather than trusting in God.
Hope in anything other than God can make us doubt God’s faithfulness. When we try our best and still fail, we doubt God. When we don’t get that job, we doubt God. When our marriage ends, we doubt God. When someone we love dies, we doubt God. But all of that doubt is because we hoped in something other than God. We have no idea of the outcome of our situation in advance, but God does. He knows what is best for us and He has a plan. We may have to learn some very painful lessons along the way, but that’s our own fault for trusting in the wrong person or thing. We may take some wrong turns, but God never does, and He can use every wrong turn we take to get us back on His road. He will never disappoint.
This world is broken, the people in it are broken. We are all hurting in some way because we hoped for things we do not have. Live without hope in this world and live for hope in Christ. Let go of the hope for the life you want and embrace the life God wants. And to all my friends, remind me of that every day!
“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.” – C.S. Lewis