I recently had a conversation with someone at work. She asked me what I thought about hope and acceptance. She shared with me that she felt torn between the call to hope and the promise of God’s provision even in our current circumstances. “How do you reconcile the anticipation of change with the act of consenting to our present reality?” Well, it’s taken me awhile to tease out my thoughts but here’s at least a start.
I write a lot about waiting. The reason is because I THINK a lot about waiting. Waiting pisses me off. Waiting causes me to throw shouts and curses into the wind in desperate attempts to rid my internal cogs and wheels from consistently churning over the agonizing elements of waiting.
Isn’t it funny how obvious epiphanies occur in the most unexpected of moments?
God caught my attention this morning. It was in the midst of a prayer. Suddenly, I was keenly aware of the fact that waiting is the reality of this earthly life. Essentially, waiting = living. Think about it. How much of the Bible is spent sharing the stories of fulfilled promises or resolved outcomes? Not much. Seriously, if you aren’t paying attention, you could easily miss the entry of the Israelites into the Promised Land. It’s buried beneath the commands God gave Joshua regarding the way they have to enter and the strict rules they must follow as they take their first steps from the dry ground of the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Certainly, the fulfillment of God’s promise is extremely important and the central theme of God’s Word. And yet, the focus is so much more on the journey.
So, what does this have to do with hope and acceptance – or did I just go off on the grandfather of all tangents? (Please, if that’s what you are thinking you’re obviously new to my blog.) Remember those frustrating analogy questions on the SAT? Blank is to Blank as Blank is to Blank? Well, the way I see it hope is to acceptance as peanut butter is to jelly. There’s really no point in separating the two.
Hope is the desire for something to become reality, to be transformed into truth. It’s synonymous with waiting. Here’s the kicker ~ whatever we are hoping for HAS ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED. Faith is the ASSURANCE of things hoped for.
as·sur·ance: full confidence; freedom from doubt; certainty
Now, it may not come to fruition in the timing, way, or expectation we plan on or desire, but the promise is there nonetheless. And this is where I believe acceptance comes in. God has called us to “rejoice always” because “the Lord is near.” Acceptance says I have to believe God’s ways are much better than my ways (Deuteronomy 32:4). And acceptance says I have to wait (i.e. hope). But, I’m not waiting in vain, or more importantly waiting alone. I’m living in the waiting. And in my living I am joined by a God that promises this:
“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant;’ I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:9).