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A Dangerous Game: Hope

4 Sep

“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing."

I read a lot of fiction for children and young adults in my constant quest to match students to books.  I read Moon Over Manifest the other day, a book about the redemption of a town filled with con men, bootleggers, supposed fortune tellers, and a lot of immigrants.  I loved it.  Then this section caught my eye:

Then, from the shadows on the porch, she spoke to me, beckoning from her darkness to mine.

“It was a dangerous game we played.”

I opened the gate.  “What?  Faking a town quarantine?”

“No, what we did in addition to that.”

I sat on the top step, my back against the porch rail.  “What could be more dangerous than a fake quarantine and a town-sponsored bootlegging operation?”

“Hope . . .”

I realize that I think of hope just that way:  a very dangerous game.  But hope is a gift from God and it’s wrong to protect my heart from hoping just because I’m afraid of what we’ll happen if my hopes are dashed again.  I realize, though, that hoping in the Lord and His provision is what strengthens us.  Dare to hope.

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.
Expect God to get here soon.  Psalm 31:24

What if What We Hope for Doesn’t Happen?

25 Aug

Romans 5:5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out [This is written in the perfect passive tense – we don’t have to do anything to make the love flow] in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

What if what we hope for doesn’t happen?  If we are focused inward on the circumstance our heart will become sick.  “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick (grieve)” (Prov 13:12).  But as we wait for this hope to be fulfilled, the love of God is “poured out into our hearts”.  So if we focus upward our heart is healed with His love.  Remember in Romans, how the heroes of the faith often did not see their hopes fulfilled until after their deaths!

Becoming Hopeful

23 Aug

Romans 5:4  And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith andtried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

Experience/endurance:  The word rendered experience (dokimhn) means trial, testing, or that thorough examination by which we ascertain the quality or nature of a thing, as when we test a metal by fire, or in any other way, to ascertain that it is genuine. It also means approbation, or the result of such a trial; the being approved, and accepted as the effect of a trying process. The meaning is, that long afflictions borne patiently show a Christian what he is; they test his faith, and prove that it is genuine.

  • The experience mentioned is the experience of knowing how to get along with another imperfect person, which makes it possible to have a continuing relationship with this person(s).  Another side of this experience is knowing how to handle a crisis.  Knowing that this crisis did not take God by surprise.  This experience leads us to:

Hope:  expectation of good, hope in the Christian sense joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation, on hope, in hope, having hope, the author of hope, or he who is its foundation.

It is easy to lose hope in a situation that has been going on for many years.  We’ll look at losing hope in the next post.