Monday, April 29, 2013

Hanging Onto Hope


Dear Friends,

We need to hang on to hope.  It has been said, “You can’t be optimistic with misty optics; seeing what will be with the eyes of faith requires clear inner vision.”

Helen Keller, a woman who was both blind and deaf, was asked, “What can be worse than a person with no sight?”

She replied, “A person with sight but no vision.”

Hope is ridiculously optimistic.  It has vision, insight into what should be and what will be one day.  It refuses to be intimidated by a relationship that looks like Humpty-Dumpty who sat on a wall, fell off, and lay shattered in little pieces on the ground.  It sees things no one else seems to see.  It sees a miracle.  It sees Humpty-Dumpty mended and sitting on the wall again!

Helen Keller’s teacher was ridiculously hopeful when, humanly speaking, there was so little hope at all in the situation.  She believed Helen could become a productive human being.  She believed it, she got Helen to believe it because she knew God believed it, and she set out to do her part to make it happen.
We need a lot more teachers like that in the church of Jesus Christ.  There are many blind and deaf people who need someone to believe them into usefulness.  Many Christians just need someone to say to them, “You can do it!  Even if you tried and failed, you can try again.  I’m behind you.”

Maybe some of you are wrestling with children who, unlike Helen Keller, have all their faculties, have everything going for them, and yet are a real disappointment to you.  Will they ever become what you long for them to be in the Lord?  Can you lovingly trust them to become the people they were created to be before Satan got his sticky little fingers on them?

This has nothing to do with our personality either.  Some of us are more naturally inclined to be hopeful and trusting of other people.  Others are more cynical.  God’s Spirit transcends all our foibles and personality traits.  The most negative thinker among us can become optimistic in the Lord.  This is what faith, hope, and love do.  In the end it depends not on my performance but on God’s promises.
Perhaps you are beating yourself up because you feel your kid would have been a better Christian if you had been a better mother.  That is not necessarily so.

I was teaching Proverbs 31 to a class of young mothers.  I began by explaining that this “bionic Christian lady” who lurks rather accusingly in these pages didn’t really exist except in the imagination of the writer, perhaps King Lemuel, writer of the first nine verses of chapter 31.  It was, he says, something “that his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1).

I asked the young moms how many of them thought this concept was hard to grasp.  Most of them were in the tough child-rearing years, when the idea that their children would ever sit down and lovingly write a poem about their wonderful advice blew their minds!  It was too much to hope for, even for the most optimistic of parents.  Yet parents need to look past their children’s present behavior and with biblical hope, trust their kids to come through.  Not because they are bionic Christian parents, but because we have a bionic God!

It’s all right to dream, and we should.  Dream that our kids grow up to love Jesus to distraction and give themselves sacrificially for a lost and broken world.  But we can do more than dream. We can instruct them in the ways of God and make sure they are well versed in Scripture.  We can determine to give them as many chances to try and fail as it takes.  We can certainly explain that we are only models of growth and learning, not models of perfection. We can point them to God, the perfect parent, who trusts them to be all He wants them to be down here.

Agape love moves us to hope for and believe the best about our kids when they are at their worst. God wants us to reckon on the fact that the incorrigible little liar is of great worth and that through prayer and trust “this too shall pass.”  Love is the will to believe more than the evidence demands.

Who are you worried about?  A husband you are trying to forgive and trust again?  A friend who has hurt you?  A child who looks as though she will never follow the Lord as you long for her to do?  A loved one who is an unbeliever and laughs at your faith?  A family of siblings who seem to hate each other?  A spouse who has told you the love has run out in your marriage and he wants out?  Love them with agape love.  And, of course, for this you need Jesus, but for this you have Jesus!

Hope is overwhelming confidence in the God who can do anything with anyone at any time in any place.

In His Love,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine


2 comments:

  1. Good article. I need to think about this!!
    I have and are still battling depression.

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  2. Thank you, Jill, for these powerful and encouraging words! Thank you for speaking truth and reminding us of the hope and strength we have in Christ Jesus. My favorite lines: "Love is the will to believe more than the evidence demands." and ..."for this you need Jesus, and for this you have Jesus!"

    I am always encouraged by your words, and I thank God for you!
    Blessings,
    Jane

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