It’s been awhile since I wrote about hope but here’s another post on the theme of hope. The last time we focused on it, we read the last reference to “hope” that was found in the book of Job. Now we’ll be starting to work our way through the Psalms. And there are a lot of references to hope there. I know it’s going to be a rich time of meditation.
Here’s the first “hope” in Psalms:
“The wicked will return to Sheol,
Even all the nations who forget God.
For the needy will not always be forgotten,
Nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever.
Arise, O LORD, do not let man prevail;
Let the nations be judged before You.” (Psalm 9:17-19 NASB).
Hoping in God’s deliverance carries with it an expectation that we will be waiting. We will be waiting for the Lord to show up and come through for us, whether we feel afflicted or the wicked seem to be prospering–and we aren’t. As we wait, we’re crying out, “Arise, Lord! Come through for me! Don’t you see and care?”
The Psalmist is a good example for us of waiting “well.” He writes, “For the needy will not always be forgotten.” There’s a confidence in that wording: “not always…” He’s saying, “This won’t go on forever and forever without God moving in justice and truth.”
Paul David Tripp gives some important thoughts about waiting in his book, Broken-Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad :
“Waiting will always reveal where you have placed your hope. Your heart is always exposed by the way that you wait.
“If your hope is in your power, you will find it extremely difficult to live through situations where you have been revealed to be powerless. If your hope is in your wisdom, you will find it extremely difficult to deal with circumstances that simply make no sense to you. If your hope has been in a certain person or situation, you will find it very hard to deal with it should that person or situation radically change. Think about it. If my hope and confidence were really in the wisdom and power of the Lord, I would not find this kind of waiting so hard. Waiting is hard precisely because it calls us to live by faith and not by sight.” (pg 115, Shepherd’s Press).
It might be quite startling for us to make a connection between what we’re impatient about and the condition of our heart: our expectations and/or what we believe we need for “life.”
**If you believe you need your spouse’s love to feel worthwhile, it’ll be hard to wait for his/her affirmations. Your hope is in your spouse’s opinion of you.
**If you believe you must have a well paying job, it’ll be nerve racking to wait for your boss to recognize your work. Your hope is in financial security.
**If you believe you aren’t beautiful until you lose 10 pounds, you’ll be impatient with slow weight-loss. Your hope is in your appearance.
Heart Change involves being honest about what our impatient waiting indicates. What is it pointing to? As we uncover our ungodly “hope,” confess it and correct it with the truth, transformation of our heart will occur.
Yes, God will come through for us…in His timing. But even if He doesn’t, He can be trusted. That is our true hope.