What kind of hope is in your heart?

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚


Inspiration this week comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 1:18

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called — his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”


In my mind, there are two kinds of hope. A hope that creates a wish, and a hope that inspires a confident expectation. If you take a moment to think about it, they are not the same thing. A wish is passive, while a confident expectation requires both trust and action. For example, our family has many Christmas traditions beginning with cutting down a tree on the day after Thanksgiving. In my girls’ minds, the hope to get to do these traditions together as a family is one of confident expectation. They don’t just wish to do them, they prioritize and set their schedules so that they happen.

Another tradition that we have is placing the home-made star (that my sister-in-law made us 24 years ago) on the top of the tree. For the past 20 years, Matt lifted one of the girls up to perform this cherished chore. Last week, the girls decided that it was Matt’s turn. They created a plan to work together to lift him up so that he would get a chance to place the star. The tree our family chose to cut down this year was over 9 feet tall so the girls had to get him quite a ways off of the ground. Their hope was not simply a wish, it was a confident expectation and they never doubted their ability to get it done. Matt never doubted it either. The trust that they had in each other and the value that they placed in achieving the commonly held goal ensured that they were successful. There was a beautiful joy created by this shared hope as they completed the task. I managed to get a video of it, and you can watch it here:


I think that sometimes our culture defines hope as more of a wish and less of a confident expectation. While that is likely a safer interpretation as it doesn’t really require either trust or work on the part of the believer, the effects of considering it that way severely restrict the benefits that it can offer. I don’t believe that Jesus intends for us to receive only wishes from our faith relationship with him. Rather, I think that Jesus calls us to share his active passion for love. He promises the endless supply of living water and light that will move through us to bless both ourselves and others.

There are many references to hope in the Bible and it seems clear to me that they all revolve around a confident expectation, one of belief, trust, and loving action. God’s definition of hope is not synonymous to a wish, rather it came to us in the form of the ultimate loving action: His gift of Jesus (Immanuel). As a result, it carries with it a need for the kind of trust which believes in a certainty of fulfillment.

What kind of hope is in my heart? What kind is in yours? I’ve thought about this often over the past three weeks as I’ve been substitute teaching at our local middle school. Do I carry the hope of Jesus? Is my heart flooded by the light that brings the confident expression of love? Do the students know how much I care about them? Do I have the kind of deep belief and complete trust that allows Immanuel to lift me up in order to place His star on the top of my tree?

These are the things that God is placing on my heart as we begin the start of Advent. I *hope* that as I celebrate the birth of our Savior, that I will trust and understand more deeply the ultimate spiritual gift that we celebrate on Christmas Day πŸ™‚

8 Comments

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8 responses to “What kind of hope is in your heart?

  1. Good stuff. Thanks, Anne.

    • Hope that you all are doing well, Bill. Sorry that I’ve not been the best about replying or staying in touch. The “introvert” in me sometimes takes over πŸ™‚

      Take care,
      Anne

  2. Well written, Anne, and we loved the video! We call the hope we have in the finished work of Jesus on the cross a “know so hope” as opposed to a “hope so hope”.

    • Hi Carol! I just read your yearly update email and am glad that you all are still doing well amidst all of your 4-legged friends πŸ™‚ That “know so hope” is what fuels our hearts regardless of circumstance and that’s a great way to differentiate.

      Hope to catch up with you all in 2021 as Meg may spend the summer in Wyoming this year so we’re likely to head that way as swim team allows.

      Take care,
      Anne

  3. Becky SADDLER

    Interesting. I wrote my writing this morning on that very thing and I hadn’t read your blog yet! Loved the video!!

    • I saw your message this morning and it’s awesome the way that Holy Spirit works in our minds and hearts πŸ™‚

      As always, thank you for reading and encouraging me in this journey. I truly appreciate it!

      Best,
      Anne

  4. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog.

    Merry Christmas!

    Terri

    • Hi Terri,

      Thank you so much for your note of encouragement! It is helpful to me to know that my words are meaningful to you πŸ™‚ I hope that you had a Merry Christmas and wish you the best as we enter 2021!

      Take care,
      Anne

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