Real Hope in the Shadows…


I’m sitting by the fire.  The house is quiet.  All the boys just grabbed up lunches, backpacks, projects and reports and headed out the door.  Sweet pastor-husband gave a peck on the cheek and a squeeze of the hand as he stepped out into the cold.  I clean eggs out of bowls, gather piles of laundry and start up all the ‘machines’ (I’m so thankful for the machines!)  I light the fire, collect my books, including the big one I love so much.  Just before I settle down to talk to God, I pour coffee into my “hope” mug, given me by a dear friend.

I love this mug.  Every morning I fill it and, with varying degrees of intensity, I think about the word on the front. It always brings encouragement.  Pastor-husband often fills it for me and whispers, “Start your day with hope.”

I think about my day: the plumber coming, school supplies to purchase, the three things I forgot at the grocery store yesterday to be remembered today, bills to pay, dinner, and hope.  “We are merely moving among shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.  And, so Lord, where do I put my hope?  My only hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:6-7, New Living Translation).

I walk among the shadows and they clamor for my attention, my devotion, my hope.  They promise happiness and joy…the shadows of wealth, pride, beauty, health, control, & pleasures promise and promise and promise.  I’ve often believed them, striving, reaching, working to accomplish that which offers “the promised land,” only to find a shriveling soul and the echoing question, “Am I happy yet?”  I long for the garden without the fall, and in the end, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” (Prov. 13:12)  The self-deception and the sick soul remind me that the True Hope is calling me.

And the mystery comes alive.  “Christ, in me…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27)  As His kindness leads me to repentance, His presence brings me the fulness of joy I had turned from. His light casts out all the shadows.

I sit by the fire, His word in my hands, my “hope” mug beside me.  I think about the things we frequently “talk” about together.  I keep asking Him to give me women to share the real hope with, and He is answering in amazing ways.  I sit and wonder, will I be able to explain it to them?  Will I be able to answer their questions, build a relationship, draw them with love?  I’m nervous, I want to shy away, to make an excuse, to be devoted some other way…. ANY other way.  I want it, but I don’t.  And He shows me false hopes again…hopes in myself to “share the Gospel right,” to avoid embarrassment and to skirt failure.  His word reminds me again that it’s HIM in me, NOT me in me and I say with Paul:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,            

who according to His great mercy has caused us to be

born again to a living hope through the resurrection

of Jesus Christ from the dead…” I Pet. 1:3

I’m filled with true pleasure, great excitement, thrilling anticipation as I wait to see just what He’ll do!

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