A couple of days ago I shared how I’ve been internally struggling with a lot of self-loathing and simply not feeling good enough. While the struggle is still ongoing, it’s my daily quiet time that helps more than anything else, or for that matter, anyone else, to stay as grounded as possible. Some days I fully outright fail. These are days filled with many tears and the inability to see myself in a positive way. Yet, I guess the positive I need to remember to take away is in those moments where things are going okay or even really good to try to hold on to those as best as I can.
Many time these moments happen in the morning around 4am when I’m in my quiet time with God. I’m never alone. What I’ve typed out below is from this past Sunday. I’m still in the same passage: 1 Peter 1:3-9. This one passage has been huge for me and my hope in sharing it with you is that maybe God will speak to you through my words as He did me with writing them out.
Play this idea out to its conclusion. If I do what this passage says, what will my life look like? If I don’t do what it says, what could happen?
The keyword throughout this passage is faith. Where does our faith stand in reference to God and His trinity? This passage is all about the positive effects and positive consequences as a result of our faith being placed in God. As verse 3 says, we have a living hope. This isn’t just wishful thinking. This is hope that’s alive. It’s active. It never stops moving. It’s always present.
hope (n.): 1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. 2. (archaic) a feeling of trust.
From the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus:
- I had high hopes: ASPIRATION, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan design.
- A life filled with hope: HOPEFULNESS, optimism, expectation, expectancy; confidence, faith, trust, belief, conviction, assurance; promise, possibility. Antonym: pessimism.
- Have we any hope of winning? CHANCE, prospect, likelihood, probability, possibility; informal: shot.
All of the above synonyms are for the noun form for the word hope. While we can’t visually see hope itself – as in the word – it’s still as concrete as a building, hence why I think it’s fitting that the hope we place in God is a noun more so than a verb. When we are believers, our hope we place in God is alive. It’s ever-present and active. Satan hates this.
Here’s what the BBC says:
As sinners, we [have] no hope beyond the grave. There was nothing ahead for us but the certainty of judgment and fiery indignation. As members of the first creation we were under the sentence of death. But in the redemptive work of Christ, God found a righteous basis upon which He can save ungodly sinners and still be just. Christ has paid the penalty of our sins. Full satisfaction has been made. The claims of justice have been met, and now mercy can flow out to those who obey the gospel.
In the resurrection of Christ, God indicated His COMPLETE* satisfaction with the sacrificial work of His Son. The resurrection is the Father’s “Amen” to our Lord’s [– Jesus’ –] cry, “It is finished!”* Also, that resurrection is a pledge that all who die in Christ will be raised from among the dead. This IS* our living hope—the expectation of being taken home to heaven to be with Christ and to be like Him forever. F. B. Meyer calls the living hope “the link between our present and future.”
*emphasis/capitalization added for emphasis
Hope in and of itself is good but simply not enough. Just as the Holy Spirit is alive and constantly active within us, we need to have a living hope that’s also alive and constantly active within us.
When Mari died a part of me died with her. I can’t explain what part but an image just came to me on how to describe it. Think of a beautiful forest filled with trees, bushes, grass, animals, and so on. The forest is filled and full of life. Then a fire roars through this forest, destroying everything in its path. The animals all run for their lives to escape the blaze and smoke. Once the fire is put out, the charred remains are left in the fire’s wake. However, given some time, now life begins to sprout from the charred ground. No, the death of everything before is gone, but it’s beginning a new life. It won’t be the same, but the point is it does live on. That’s me after Mari’s death. A part of me died but in its place a new me rose through the charred tragedy of losing her. I continued to live. I was able to do this because of a living hope I have in Christ. I’d be completely lost without it.
I think of where my life is today. Even though I’m really internally struggling, the living hope I have in God and His trinity has still grounded me as a believer. God is constantly at work in me. While Satan constantly torments me, the Holy Spirit has never once left me. He’s helping me to fight the evil one and bestows on me Jesus’ strength so I’m always on solid ground even when it doesn’t feel like it.
Satan is good at mirages to where he makes something appear one way but the reality is totally different. The Holy Spirit helps us see what is truth and highlights the devil’s lies and deceptions for us. We must remember to stand firm on God’s truth so we can continually fight off the evil one’s lies.
What does God want me to walk away with more than anything else today?
That I have a living hope. My hope is alive because of Jesus and His sacrifice for me and everyone else. I know it’s through this living hope I am where I am today and helps guide me forward down the path God has specifically chosen for me. While it’s not easy, I know I will be okay. It’s because of this living hope and can know that even in the most difficult of times I’m never alone and one day I’ll get to spend all eternity in heaven with God. While it sucks to have to go through the hard times on earth, I know it’ll be a small blip compared to eternity. My living hope allows me to understand that the end result is what matters most not the here and now in comparison.