Monday, July 30, 2007

What is hope?

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Eph 1:17-21 NIV)

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. (Heb 7:18-19 NIV)

I stumbled over the idea of hope today. I was reading Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1, but couldn't get my mind and heart past the "hope to which he has called you." Instead of the encouragement I was "hoping" for, I felt something else. At first I felt a great emptiness, then despair and anger. What hope is there?

It might be my commitment to the Old Way of finding hope in second things like financial security, physical health, an exciting marriage and obedient kids. Maybe I'm despairing of that kind of hope. But nothing has yet (consistently) taken it's place; The "better hope" of drawing near to God (what Crabb calls the New Way) that the second text mentions is still too often ambiguous and misty.

Honestly, what good is drawing near to God when your life is falling apart? He doesn't promise to change things or make things better. Why do it?

I guess I don't understand intimacy very well.

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