Hope.

Expecting carries with it hope for something and often in someone.

A better marriage. Kids who thrive in the face of obstacles like dyslexia. Enough income. A clear cancer screen.

Hope for something is rarely fulfilled. Our expectations and reality just don’t seem to ever perfectly align.

Hope in someone can leave us disillusioned. They didn’t do what we expected them to do.

Hope mocks us when we hope for something and in someone. We become tempted to cease expecting.

“We had hoped He was the one,” they muttered as they walked home their hope disappointed. Their hope for victory in Jesus as the Promised One vanished with His last breath exhaled. Jesus hadn’t done things the way they expected.

They went home too soon, so Jesus came to them.

Emmanuel, God with us, invited them to see Himself and His promises fulfilled from the days of old. “Does it not say?” he recalled to them the promises of God.

As I expect Emmanuel to come and ransom me, I hope not in what I can see, but who God is – God with us, Emmanuel, Jesus, the Promised One. This kind of hope sets you free.

Things change when we hope in God alone, not what He will do, but who He is.

My son still reads behind his peers. The cancer screen was not clear.

I look instead to God. God is faithful. God is good. God is with us. When I can’t see Him as faithful and good, when He seems far, I wait on Him a little longer because hope in God does not disappoint.

Advent is about the long waiting.

The enslaved Israelites waited 400 years. Mary waited nine months. The early followers died waiting.

Hope is faith that waits for God to be God no matter what.

I don’t know if I’m there just yet. My hope may falter. It has before. But, I’m expecting Him to be who He says He is, even if He must to come to me while I mutter “I had hoped.”

Why? Because he does not leave His own. He is Emmanuel, God with us. We can hope in Him, and in the end we will not be disappointed.

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