Just a short word. Only four little letters.
Yet, one of the most impactful words we have.
Life fades. The light goes out of our eyes. We walk in defeat.
Joy can overflow even in the hardest of situations. Sparkle. Faith. Growth.
WE NEED IT.
I have found myself REALLY drawn to this word in recent days. Multiple situations have caused me to pull inward and truly look at where my focus is, what it is that I am needing to do or not do in my life right now, and to look at what it is that God is wanting me to learn (or RELEARN!).
One big focus, a heaviness on our hearts, right now is keeping our hearts and eyes focused properly while we play the waiting game. We continue to have no doubt that we ARE called to the foreign mission field as a family. It continues to be confirmed in each of our hearts. However, we are struggling with "what" that looks like. Our vision and our expectation isn't exactly shaping up to what we pictured. That's NOT a bad thing. BUT....it is a hard thing. We have had some doors close very securely at this point. NOT closing to the point that we are giving up or think that we "heard" His call incorrectly. We just may have focused on the wrong SPECIFICS. So as we pull back and wait to listen intently to what His plan is and WHERE HE is leading (and not just our own emotions and ideas)....we wait....and hope.
I'm not so good at waiting. OK---perhaps that should be rewritten as....I stink at waiting. I'm a planner. I'm a detail oriented person. I am a patient person with people, but I'm not a patient person with details. If that makes sense.
So as I wait, I'm learning to refocus. Using the time to LISTEN and GROW. Digging in deeper to His word. Opening my ears and heart to hear more clearly. Being more vulnerable and stepping out of the box more as I seek Him.
I'm also trying to take the "weight" of multiple situations (when it rains it pours!) and learning to put them at His feet and leaving them. My husband will probably admit there has been a remarkable change in my personality over the last several months. I react differently to stress than I have in a long time. I've loosened my grip on "controlling" so many things. When things do go wrong (as they often do!), I don't have such a defeated attitude.
I like this switch.
I like this journey of growth.
A great portion of it is coming from hope and trust. Hope.
I cling to that word and the different things it means to my heart.
I have started doing a word study in scripture on Hope. I've learned that it's used in the NIV version of scripture in 159 verses. I'm using some tools I learned at a recent conference to attempt my first deep word study on my own----looking at the Greek and Hebrew words through LexiConc of Blue Letter Bible online.
Today, I keep coming back to a use of "hope" in Romans 4. Abraham had HOPE. He had no heirs because he had no children. Sarah's womb was considered "dead". However, God had promised him that he would be the father of many nations and he had hope and trust in God's promises. Even at 100 years old (and Sarah in her 90s!).
I LOVE how the verses describe this hope.
Against ALL hope....
In hope BELIEVED...
Without weakening in his faith...
Yet he did not WAVER through UNBELIEF...
Was STRENGTHENED in his faith...
Gave glory to God...
Became fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised!
I don't know about you, but reading those words today in just a few tightly packed verses was POWERFUL to me this morning.
Just a few verses later at the beginning of chapter 5 are some more powerful words to cling to.
" Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know sufferings produces perseverance, perseverance, charter; and character, hope. AND HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT US, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
I want the faith of Abraham. I'll settle for just a small portion! Despite the reality of what his eyes could see, he believed. It says that he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead, but did not waver through unbelief.
That's powerful hope.
We have hope that though "our" plans and details may change as to what direction/time table/specifics He has for our calling, He will provide. We have hope that as one door closes, another one opens that is exactly what He has planned.
We have hope that though we face countless other situations designed to distract, defeat, and divide...that we will not waver in our faith.
Strengthened through the trials. Hopeful during the waiting. Fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised.
Clinging to the verses of hope. Learning more of it's use in scripture. Growing in faith.