Monday, April 27, 2015

Hope Trumps Disappointment

Hope Trumps Disappointment

How often have you wanted to be excited about a potential new job or the outcome of a relationship, but didn't want to set yourself up to be let down? Fear of disappointment is the enemy of hope. Disappointment in life circumstances, ourselves, God, and others is part of the human existence. God knows we need to mourn life's disappointments with one another so we can move from sadness into hope. Otherwise, we employ unhealthy, self-protective strategies that condemn ourselves or others keeping us in pain. To minimize hurt and disappointment, we refuse to live in hope. The story of the prodigal son is a perfect example of this principle.

A father had two sons. The older son worked on the family farm, but the younger son demanded his inheritance immediately. His hope was in himself. The prodigal son believed he could live a better life by making his own decisions, so he took his fortune and made some new friends in a new town. The folks he surrounded himself with all left when his funds ran out. Then a famine came and the son ended up in terrible circumstances. Eventually he decided to go back home and beg his father to allow him to become a servant. The prodigal son had absolutely no hope in forgiveness and grace. Fear lied to the son about the father’s heart, extinguishing any hope for the renewal of their relationship.

In truth, his father had been waiting and watching for his son to come home. Rather than being angry and holding a grudge, the father felt loving compassion and ran to his son, kissing and hugging him. Yes, there were barriers they needed to address, but the father wanted his son to hope into a full restoration of the relationship rather than settling for something less. Opening up to receive his father’s genuine loving welcome changed the son’s heart. It gave him the courage to see and confess his own brokenness and also hope into change.

Living the abundant life encompasses cultivating an excitement and passion to see and connect with God in our everyday life. It’s impossible to be passionate without hope. Unfortunately, mankind has learned how to beat hope down to a manageable size. We’re allowed to dream about things that are “reasonable” or “practical,” but to hope for a transformed heart and mind seems too risky. 

What if I disappoint God, myself, and others? What if I take a risk and I'm rejected or the disappointment is too overwhelming? Protecting ourselves from being disappointed and hurt is a life strategy based on managing fear rather than stepping out in faith that God will provide us with what we need at that moment. In 2 Timothy 1:7, we’re told not to live a life out of timidity and fear. Hoping into God’s heart gives us the strength and courage to triumph over fear. Step out of fear and ask God to instill hope into your soul.

Hope that God really does love you all the time, no matter how you feel
about yourself and your actions.
Hope that your heart can be transformed and your life changed.
Hope that you can trust in God and others rather than self-protect out of fear.

Hope that God has a wonderful, amazing plan for your life!

Just as darkness must give way to light, fear must give way when we choose to allow hope into our heart.

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