Sometimes we start hoping for things, without even realizing it. We tell ourselves that our expectations aren’t very high. “I’m totally standing at the bottom of Mt. Hope, not hoping and praying for this …job, relationship, dream, promotion…fill in the blank.” But the whole time we are trying to stay grounded, suddenly we are almost to the top of the mountain and whatever we are hoping for doesn’t work out. The mountain moves from under us. We are falling, grasping at the air without a safety net. We didn’t even know we had put so much hope into the situation, so the wind is knocked out of us as we hit the ground, feeling discouraged and depressed.
Recently I was hoping a dating relationship would work out. We had only been talking for a about three weeks, when I realized I had begun to really hope it would work out. I had formed an idea of him in my mind, and after spending some time with him, I realized he wasn’t someone I wanted to date. My mountain was gone and I was falling. Once I let him know I only wanted to be friends, the cute morning texts and late night phone calls were over. Before I started putting hope into the idea of dating him, I was pretty content, but afterwards I felt alone and was trying to come up with ways to fill that void. I wanted to find another guy to send me cute texts, or I wanted to go shopping, or dye my hair, or get another tattoo, or anything to distract me from this pain of loneliness and longing for intimacy. But instead I went to a funny movie with my mom, and laughed a lot. Afterwards I sat in my car with tears in my eyes; the pain and emptiness still sitting on my heart, crouching there and glaring, like a gargoyle on a cathedral. I had gone through this cycle of hope with my dating life many times and I was tired. I prayed, ” God. I don’t want to quickly distract myself from this. I don’t want to numb the pain of disappointment. I want to trust you. I give this to you. I know the pain won’t just disappear but I know you will take care of me.” I didn’t want to react in despair and sadness and become cynical and bitter, promising to never hope again. I wanted to intentionally rise above the pain with God as my strength. The disapoinment doesn’t go away in a moment. But the sadness lessens every moment. I haven’t felt lonely or bitter or frustrated since then, because God is healing me. I’ve been spending time with great friends, focusing on what I have instead of what I don’t.
Having hope isn’t a bad thing. Yes it’s dangerous like love or waking up in the morning. But hoping for the desires of your heart, isn’t something we can just choose not to do. No matter how much we try to stay away from hope in order to avoid disappointment, we usually still put hope in the things we want to happen, no matter what we say or think we are doing. But what we have to remember is that God knows what we need more than we do. When we are in the moment of despair and discouragement, let’s not make promises never to get our hopes up again, or look for things in this world to distract or numb us. Let’s sit at the feet of God and ask him to heal us and show us all the gifts he has for us right now and trust him for what our future holds. Let’s delight in Him and he will give us the desires of our hearts.
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4