The last few months I’ve been bumping up against the word Hope. I’ve also been bumping up against people who are either walking this life’s path filled with it, or seemingly strangely empty of it.
It’s comforting to meet folks filled with hope. You can’t help but smile and walk away from their presence a bit lighter than when you entered it.
Hope is meant to be contagious, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it can be downright irritating to those whose perspective is jaded toward goodness. Unfortunately, I’ve met a few people in this condition recently. Worse yet, I’ve sometimes joined them in their cynicism toward hope. And that thought saddens me.
How often have you found yourself living with a jaded perspective toward goodness and truth? How often have you allowed tiredness or boredom to drain your enthusiasm toward the joy that is ours in Christ? It’s unsettling how easily apathy and cynicism creep in, turning our thoughts from the pathway of peace.
The other day I saw a facebook post which stated: Expecting is my favorite crime, and disappointment is always my punishment. I couldn’t help but cringe when I realized the heaviness of that phrase. And the utter lie that it is. Or how easily we buy into it.
Expecting is not a crime. As Christians, we are asked to live expecting always. Expecting God’s goodness and faithfulness to overcome the worst in this world. The worst in us. Yet we are duped into placing our expectations in temporary things instead of in eternal truths. No wonder we reap disappointment.
When our focus shifts to the shaking of a fallen world instead of the timeless sureness of a faithful Father God, a jaded hope is our reward.
When our thoughts are consumed by rapid-fire agendas in place of the natural rhythm of the journey, we become weary and worn out. When our vision is near-sighted instead of far-reaching, we are bound to become discouraged. When we cling to people instead of to God, we are certain to be disappointed. When we fail to embrace grace, our hearts become hardened. Embittered. Jaded. Disenfranchised with hope. Distraught by change or by the continuing sameness of a trial appearing to stretch before us for miles on end.
Instead of living at peace in the known of God, who remains stable despite our floundering, we allow our hearts to become disenfranchised. Unable to rest easy. Tempted to go on a rampage against the very hope that has been given to hold us steady.
I found it of great interest to note the actual meaning of the word disenfranchised comes from the French root enfranchir – to make free. When the negative prefix is added, we end up in bondage – made unfree.
This is where a jaded outlook leads – straight into the bonds of captivity. Made unfree.
I can’t help but wonder how many folks are wandering this earth disenfranchised with faith. Disenfranchised with what they thought they were entitled to in a relationship, or in a career, or in a ministry, or in a religion. Disenfranchised with life in general.
The good news is, if you are in Christ, you will never have to experience this. You will never be cut off from hope nor separated from grace.
But you can choose to walk away from it.
Today I challenge you to fight against the temptation toward jaded disenfranchisement. If you’ve found yourself teetering toward the cynical or reaching out toward disappointment, just stop.
Stop and think upon the One who has plans of hope and a future for you. Ponder His promises. Remember His past faithfulness to you. Look again upon the cross of Christ and know the greatness of a love that has no limits. A hope that overcomes the very gates of hell. A peace that shakes the dust from empty graves in overcoming victory. For good.
Things are not always what they seem in this tilt-a whirl world. This life is so very fleeting. Even the longest of human breath is a mere gasp in eternity’s lifespan.
This trial. This painful relationship. This sickness. This hurt. Whatever your this is. It will not last, my friend.
In the span of a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed. Changed into eternity’s form and granted eyes to see the One who will cause every knee to bow in absolute and final declaration of His glory and dominion.
But we don’t have to wait for the end of this life to experience His hope. You can break free from the delusion of disappointment today.
Liberate your heart to remember.
Open eyes to see the eternal and the true as you revive a grateful spirit.
Cling to goodness and to Jesus.
Expect to find hope… and you will.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. — Romans 5:5 (NLT)