Standing on the Promise

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When I was a kid I loved Disneyland, who am I kidding I still do. Regardless, I would hope all year that we would be able to go that year, and usually my brother and I would have no clue that it was coming. Day by day, hope felt waning. As days turned into weeks, it felt that the news was never coming…. Finally, one morning we come to the front room and my parents sat us down, and handed us the sweet golden ticket of a vacation package. Bliss. Often that is hope, we wish for what we want. Hope is such an ambiguous word. It can mean many different things to many different people. Usually it is kind of like wishing upon a star, like Gipetto we sit around wishing that the craziest and most unlikely occurrence will happen (and usually be completely freaked out when it does). But that is not really faith.

When I was 5 or 6 my uncle received the news that he had ALS (Wikipedia it, it sucks really really really really bad). Shortly after his body began shutting down, first his ability to walk, then to sit up on his own, eventually his speech and all muscle movement, until he was a prisoner in his own shell. In October of 1999 he died of ALS. Paul wrote about hope in this way, “And there is more; it’s not just creation- all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the first fruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete- for we have been saved in this hope and for this future. But hope does not involve what we already have or see. For who goes around hoping for what he has already? But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen, then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation” (Romans 8:22-25 The Voice). As a follower of Jesus, I have already begun to receive hope, meaning that in my life there is tangible evidence that I am with him, his love, his grace, his forgiveness, and his transforming power changing me. But it is not complete, and that is why there is hope, because if I am currently at the best I will ever get I would be slightly upset (and those who love me would probably be so even more). My uncle had to wait as he lost his body; he is the obvious object lesson of this verse to me. He lost his body, but one gained Heaven, and one day he will be renewed in his body, so it’s all good. That is hope, not wishful thinking but eager anticipation. Not holding out for the impossible, but standing out in God’s promise. Not being stupid, but having the faith to look like it.