“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:22-25
All throughout Scripture we are told to put our hope in God, that this is the only true hope. Yet for many of us, even those who know Jesus as Saviour, we allow disappointments to get in the way of our hope. Disappointment can take many forms when we try to fill our hope with things in this world. People and things are never any consolation for the hope God longs to give us. Yet we settle for these things often.
In the last few days I picked up where I left off purging my home a few weeks ago. It gives me great satisfaction to throw out, recycle, and reorganize less things. I actually feel physically/emotionally/spiritually lighter. For me, it allows space to breathe and facilitates healing in places I have been overwhelmed.
This portion of purging along with many other drawers and cabinets included a drawer in my dresser that was packed full of cards. It was in this space that God showed me to be a little more empathic of people’s emotional attachments to some things. I found cards my kids had written in or made, cards from sweet friends full of life giving words, standard family cards and the cards I have apparently been saving for 9 years since Mom’s suicide.
To be honest I did not know or remember that I had been saving those sympathy cards. For the first few years they did serve a purpose as I would reflect about how God had been healing my heart and it made me be intentional to take time to grieve. I remembered how so many people had gathered around us during that time. How God showed up.
Recently my friend told me about a process when decluttering. It was from a book that has given her much insight. Clutter Busting your Life by Brooks Palmer. Mr. Palmer goes through a home with a client and one item at a time, he says how is this serving you? Often the item has no purpose in that way or they get to the emotions in it and people are able to release things they haven’t for years. It is very freeing.
And it was for most things, except these cards. I held them and I wept for that season, for Mom, for friends and I released my disappointments that I had allowed to pile up. Just like those cards. And I threw them away. There was sorrow attached to those things but not despair. I had experienced the hope of God and know without doubt that my hope initiated during that season was triggered by my faith.
In the book, Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller, he said,” Sorrow is pain for which there are sources of consolation. It comes from losing one good thing among others. Despair, however, is inconsolable, because it comes from losing an ultimate thing. When you lose the ultimate source of your meaning or hope, there are no alternative sources to turn to. It breaks your spirit.”
God’s hope protects us from despair. 2 Corinthians 4:8,9 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
So be careful where you place your hope. Choose wisely what you build your life around. We are created with a longing for God and relationship but unless we choose Him first, we will try to fill those longings with people and stuff. What are you hoping for? Where does your meaning lie?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12