Hope is holding on to God

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The other day I wore a shirt that says only the word "hope" at the top in white letters that are half an inch long. I like the shirt because it is poetry; something about how those letters are scrawled so tinily across the top of this shirt resonates with me. The letters look so vulnerable, fragile and lost, like they somehow accidentally ended up on the canvas of this shirt that seems too big to house just this one word. Yet they are beautiful. It was, whoever wrote it, last attempt to grasp onto what they knew was true and good and right, their courageous, last-ditch effort to put their faith in something bigger. I understand that.

At the end of break at work, one of my co-workers who had been sitting across the table from me randomly said through a smile, "Your shirt's funny; it just says 'hope' so little instead of in really big letters. Like, you don't have a lot of hope ... just a little."

I walked out of the break room a little annoyed with my co-worker and wanting to defend the reasons the letters on my shirt spelled "hope" in such a small way instead of in big letters that just would have looked cheesy.

The more I thought about it, though, the more my co-worker's comment resonated true in my heart. Some days my hope in our Father runs short, barely there, tiny faded white letters crying out in a sea of vastness. Some days I don't know how much hope is OK to have or what's OK to hope for. Some days my tiny hope is me shrinking back in fear that if I dare to hope too much -- if I really throw all I am into hoping in God and let him see the parts of my heart that hope for the things my heart aches for most -- I will be disappointed. Some days it seems easier and safer not to hope at all.

But our Father loves us too much to let us shut off the parts of our hearts that hold the things we yearn for most. He wants those parts of our hearts and calls us to hope greatly and confidently in him because he knows the ultimate aching of our hearts is for him. He promises us in Isaiah 28:23, " ... those who hope in me will not be disappointed."

Hope is clinging to God, clinging to his promise that he keeps his promises. It is believing he loves you and realizing the depth of his sheer, utter love for you and your life. It is holding on to him while he holds on to you, through everything. He never harms, only heals. He never disappoints because he is everything good and true. He sent his son to give us what our hearts are really yearning for, the greatest hope of all -- the hope of conquering death and living forever with him, face to face.

"For it was by hope that we were saved; but if we see what we hope for, then it is not really hope. For who hopes for something he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." (Romans 8:24-25)

Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple -- not necessarily in that order.

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