16 February, 2016 40 days of change-Lent, 2016
Hope – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Sometimes we can appear patient, but what is really happening is we are in despair or we don’t care anymore. We can develop a ‘whatever’ attitude and never be in a hurry or anxious. I don’t think that is what God is calling us to when he asks us to be patient, for we ought always to be people of hope. Hope is that beautiful characteristic that anticipates something positive for the future. Hope is a healthy part of life. But, having too much hope can be counter-productive to being patient. Think of what it is like for some children at Christmas. They have so much hope of what Christmas will bring, they have to be peeled off the ceiling and given a sedative (clearly meant metaphorically). And yet, no hope is a denial of the good that God has in store for us. The well-used promise of scripture is not “I know the plans I have for you, and they are not much, so just relax because it is no big deal”. He has good plans for us and we should be hopeful that something better is coming our way, well worth the patience to wait.
Jesus’ was a realist; he knew that tough times were in store for his disciples. But he knew a better time was coming. After doing some really mind-bending miracles and teaching some mind-blowing lessons, Jesus told his disciples that they would do even greater things. They must have wondered if he was kidding, but he had hope that God would use their efforts. Even when Jesus wept over Lazarus, it was not tears of despair he shed, but droplets of empathy as he entered into his friends’ pain over having no hope. He had hope, for he was the resurrection and the life. He could be patient in attending to Lazarus because he not only had hope; he was the hope.
As Christians who believe in a good God we should be people of hope, not just hope of dying and going to heaven (hope applying to more the latter than the former). We can invest wholeheartedly in today’s activities in the hope that your today matters. Not that you will do anything profound, but God can take your smallest efforts and make them into something quite grand. Remember what he does with dust, or what Jesus does with water. You can do something today that God can make into a miracle. Don’t be indifferent or disillusioned. Little things matter. So, if today you decide to say a kind word to someone, offer some financial help to a person in need, or do an act of kindness, do it with the expectation that something bigger and better is going to come of it. Then wait patiently with your hope fixed on God’s plan to come true. That’s being a person of hope.