Monday, April 28, 2014

Where We Put Our Hope

A lot of people I love are hurting right now. Since they’re not my stories, they’re not the kind of thing I can write about. If I were to write about any of them in the most general terms, though, several people would think I was writing about them.

I find myself saying on their behalf, “How long, oh Lord?” (Psalm 13) So many people seem to be in a season of suffering, where the trials come in wave after wave.

John 9:1–3 shows that it’s unwise to speculate why God allows suffering to come into the lives of his children. Joseph languished for years in an Egyptian prison. Paul was beaten and hauled off to jail nearly every place he went. And the ultimate example is Christ on the Cross. In other words, God is often doing his greatest work when things look hopeless.

We put our hope in so many different things. Money, career, marriage, family. All of them good things, but all of them capable of breaking our hearts. And as my friend Gloria Furman reminded me the other day—on Twitter of all places—we don’t have time for fake hope. Only one foundation is strong enough to bear our weight, and we need to be standing on it when the storms come.

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16

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