My life is not a neatly planted hedge of planned events; it is, rather, a messy string of occurrences which the Lord is using to graciously teach me what He wants me to know.
Anything that has happened out of my control is still in the Lord’s hands and in His control. Thankfully, I don’t exist in a world devoid of spiritual abundance– He is here, always, offering with open hands what my soul desperately needs.
If winter reminds me of that deep void in the soul, spring and summer remind me of what is possible with God. Spring and summer show me what seeds of faith can become: flowers, fruit, beauty, useful, life-giving. A life hidden with God results in wisdom, peace, love… and other manifestations of His indwelling spirit.
A seed planted does not strive against the soil. It does not jump out of the ground and transplant itself elsewhere. It does not fight against the roots that will soon sprout from its coat. It simply lives, grows, and thrives, nourished by the soil and its environment.
We are like seeds planted by a Master, connected to a rich vine and a water-source that never runs dry. We, like seeds, have no need to strive for tomorrow, or to strain for control.
I wrote a poem a few years ago about new beginnings and planting seeds… about the work done in our hearts, and the hope that hearts turn toward their Maker:
I take a spear and tear
ground open, unzipping
warm earth, watch half-
earthworms wriggle, struggle
for slice of dirt-breath
In desperation, I plant
a few seeds and wait
for a forest and hope
for the turning
All I have is this: Jesus.
I have my writing, which brings me so much life, which is what I have to offer, which I hope also encourages others and helps others on their journeys. But this also is not mine; it is a gift that God has given me, to use however, wherever, whenever He wills.
When the world shakes, I look for the signs of hope in calamity. I see it in God’s word, which sometimes I feel like I’m holding onto like a rope with dangerous seas below.
But I also see hope in the birds that sing, in the sun shining, in the world that keeps turning, in the smiles and dreams of youngsters all around. God is not dead. He is alive and at work. The waves on the shore have not overtaken the land; the waters have not overcome the earth. The waters have not overcome me. There are people who still believe in God, His word, and His redemptive plan, and He is in charge no matter what happens.
God and His word, and His love? It’s the one thing certain.
Hope is the expectation in something that is unseen. “Who hopes for what he has?” Our hopes often lie in what we do not have. Our hopes can fall into any of these categories: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, related to the soul…. We may have fulfilled and unfilled hopes in each of these areas.
David needed deliverance from difficult circumstances; he cried out to God, in whom he had hope. His friends had deserted him and he was being pursued by an enemy. He needed not only physical deliverance, but also communion with God.
We have hopes at the level of the emotion, the will, the soul, and the mind, where friendship, fellowship, and companionship help fill the need. Our need for friendship, companionship, and communion with one another is part of our design.
And whether we recognize it or not, we also have a spiritual longing, a spiritual hope, which is ultimately our deepest need: to know God, to know Him and be known by Him, to know our purpose and identity, and to be found in Him.
At any given time, our hopes in the physical realm and at the soul level may not always be fulfilled. But at the core of the spirit, the deepest need can be met. It does not mean we will cease seeking or suffering or wondering. It does not mean all pains and hurting will cease. It does not mean that all of our other needs (physical, emotional, etc.) will be met; on the contrary, it may seem as if those needs are far from met. (Anyone?) But living in the midst of the fulfillment of the spiritual hope comes an assurance and a security; living in the midst of love and the source of love– in close relationship with God.
In my life, and perhaps yours, many hopes are unfulfilled. Perhaps some hopes are fulfilled. And yet many may still remain unseen. And some may never be realized. It’s God’s grace we don’t know what lies ahead. In the midst of it all is the promise of the living hope, the Spirit that dwells with us. It is life in the Spirit, which makes the rest bearable, doable, even conquerable.
Hope is a gift we are given; it is a light in the darkness.
One of my favorite verses is this:
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. ~ Psalm 62:1
Life is curious.
You don’t know where you’ll end up, or what you’ll be doing.
There are so many things beyond my understanding and beyond explanation.
I may live in a web of confusion, not knowing the future. But I am ready. Prepared. The God of armies is with me. Amazing, isn’t it, to think about that statement? Who are these armies? What are these armies? These armies are stronger than any physical ones; they are spiritual armies. I am not walking alone; God is with me.
The world continues on… people keep living. Days go on. Life goes on. We’re all trying to live. Make sense of it all. I keep giving all my thoughts and longings to Jesus.
by Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
Perhaps the world is in turmoil outside. Perhaps your inner world is spinning.
Lies abound. Still. Always. The deceiver isn’t silent.
Mysterious, isn’t it? But aren’t some of the most powerful forces unseen? We can’t see love, truth, hope, empathy, trust, etc., but we can see their fruits.
I can see what is unrealized… you, too perhaps have situations, dreams, hopes, etc., that may never be realized, or show no reasonable hope of being realized. We all do. I don’t know how many of you live in a place where much of it has been realized, or not.
So much uncertainty can make daily living a challenge. So many questions. How? When? What? Where? I don’t know many answers, but I know the One who does, and I find hope in that.
When situations in this world have tried to steal your identity from you… as if your identity means nothing, tried to turn you into an automaton, denying your voice, denying who you are… unknowingly it begins… slowly you are dying…. Until the day, by God’s grace, you realize you are dying, and you aren’t ready to die…. To stifle one’s voice- the next thing? Take away their voice and you take them away.
We are constantly in need.
I’m not just talking about physical need here, though millions in our world are in need of food and shelter and basic necessities. Despite the fact that I am not hungry, I have shelter and clothing, I am speaking of something else.
I am talking about our spiritual need.
I can’t take two steps in a day without stumbling and falling flat on my face; at least, I can’t.
But you know, falling on my face reminds me of how much I need God. How much I need Him desperately.
It’s the grace of Christ that he lets me fall. And I find that is exactly where I need to be.
Living with hope means knowing that while tomorrow may be uncertain, spring is on the horizon.
I can choose to be dragged down by pains, aches, difficulties, fears, uncertainties. Yes, there are days it is most certainly hard. Or, I can choose to let sunlight and real spring to encourage me. I can choose to read words of true Hope.
Hope is just around the corner. Jesus is the Hope. His gift on the cross makes hope possible.
chords float in the wind
fill my soul
the notes drown empty spaces
soak like nothing else
a dry, withering, empty, cracked ground
needs water, a replenishing, a pouring
to sprout shoots, seedlings,
full with the promise of fruit,
replete with the hope and desire of a deeper root,
held in the hollow of a gentle, powerful hand
(some material from the above was edited from the archives)