I hope I get a new bike.
I hope my team wins this game.
I hope people like me.
I hope she likes me.
I hope I get into that school.
I hope I get my dream job.
I hope someone will want to marry me.
I hope I get a promotion.
I hope I will have kids one day.
I hope I am a good person.
I hope I will grow out of this habit.
I hope they don’t judge how dirty my house is.
I hope I stop feeling this way.
I hope this isn’t all for nothing.
I hope I won’t be disappointed with my life.
Our lives are mapped by our hopes.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
We negotiate between heart-sickness and fulfillment our entire lives, don’t we?
As children, we learn that when you hope for something, it can only go one of these two ways. We do everything in our power to avoid heart-sickness and to secure fulfillment.
Consider this: there was once a hopeless people, and God spoke to them through the prophet Isaiah.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Sounds amazing, but insert 700 years of waiting
“...you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger”
From the time of Isaiah’s prophecy to the time of Jesus’ birth was about 700 years, not to mention from Abraham to Jesus being about 2,000 years.
God makes a promise but doesn’t give a timeline. Sound familiar?
Much of our anxiety comes from our inability to be patient. We mistake “not yet” for “never.” (Cue the heart- sickness!)
1 Peter 1:13b:
“...set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
To hope in God is to be patient with God. It is believing all the facts are not yet in. It is believing the story isn’t done being written. It is believing there is something still yet to be revealed or uncovered. It is believing that, despite the waiting, there will be a child born, who is “true God of true God, Light from Light eternal.”
Hope looks towards Christ — Longing itself fulfilled.
“On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
Our lives are mapped by our hopes. The map is long, but it leads somewhere.
According to John’s vision in Revelation, it leads to a tree of life. Like the Proverb above, our longing will be fulfilled. This hope will not disappoint us.
This holiday season look towards the future promised to you by God by looking at this child, finally arrived. What do you see? Just a baby in a cradle? Or a wooden manger holding Life itself, pointing to the ultimate tree of life?
This is hope.
I hope you see it.
Christ be my hope. Help me see You. Help me look.
Make a map of your life starting with your earliest hope. Write enough to remember the feeling, but don’t dwell. When you’re finished with your life map end write this: I hope my longing will be fulfilled in Christ.
Thank God for the ways He is already keeping this promise.