I might be the biggest idealist I’ve ever known. Even if I’m just stopping by the store, I get excited about who I could see there and what the experience could be like. Maybe it’s part of my design to be hopeful.
But I live on earth. And it’s beautiful here, but it’s broken, too. So hopes can get crushed. I can’t count the hopes I’ve had that I never saw come to fruition. I get so excited about the possibilities that when things actually happen, they are disappointing. Because they’re flawed and messy and not the joys I hoped maybe they could be.
So I tried to stop hoping.
Hope felt childish. When something got me excited and possibilities for what could happen began entering my mind, I’d tell myself to calm down. “Don’t expect anything from it, Tessa. Just go and enjoy it if you can. Things will probably not happen that way and you’ll get hurt if you expect them to.” I’d been hurt a lot by my own expectations. I didn’t want it to happen again. So I denied hope a place in my life. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing; I thought I was protecting myself. I didn’t know I viewed hope the way I did:
As an enemy instead of a friend.
Recently the Lord has been telling me that something is a promise. Something I’ve tried to shove out of my mind and heart because it’s too special to tease myself with; something so good and so impossible that dreaming about it has physically made my heart heavy, so that I don’t even like thinking about it if I can help it.
But when He speaks… I know. There are moments when I genuinely don’t know if He’s saying something or not. But there are also moments when I know what He’s saying… and I don’t want to believe it. This has been one of the latter. I know what He’s said. I know He has promised to put this thing in my life somehow.
And it terrifies me.
You’d think that being told an incomprehensible joy is coming for me would fill me to the brim with excitement and gratitude. But I’ve lived my life as an idealist; I know what it’s like to be bubbling over with anticipation… only to be left with a deflated version of what I hoped for. And I just don’t want to feel that hurt anymore.
I used to read in the Bible where it says to rejoice in hope, and I’d think it was an obvious statement; why wouldn’t I be joyful about hope? But I understand now: hope is terrifying. When you hope, you’re allowing yourself to put your energy into believing for something you can’t visualize happening. Hope is risky, dangerous business for my heart to take on.
But hope is not dumb.
I’m afraid to believe His words to me because I’m afraid to get my hopes up. It feels childish to hope for it; it doesn’t make to sense to me to hope for it because I cannot see any avenues for it to come to pass. I’ve always known He wants me to have hope in Him for the impossible, but I guess nothing has ever looked too impossible. This… this does.
But I remember when He showed the prophet Ezekiel a valley full of dried up, long-dead bones. And He asked him: “Son of man, can these bones live?” Ezekiel responded:
“O Lord God, you know.”
Ezekiel didn’t know what was going to happen. But He knew that the Lord was capable of doing anything. Even the impossible.
The thing He’s telling me about? I have no idea how it can happen. I don’t understand it, it doesn’t make sense to me. But I know I can trust Him. I can trust Him with all of me. No matter what He’s saying, if I understand it or if I don’t, it doesn’t matter.
I can trust whatever He’s saying because it’s Him who is saying it.
My hope is in Him. And He is capable. And if I believe He loves me, why do I not believe I’m special enough to receive the impossible from Him? He has deemed me worthy.
Hope is not dumb. And I’d rather get my hopes up and be crushed than live without hope.
So I rest in who my Father is. And I trust Him with my heart.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13
“Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts though the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:5
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” -Hebrews 10:23
[Reminder: God does not contradict Himself. If what I feel He’s saying is contrary to what He says in Scripture, it isn’t Him.]