Friday, December 7, 2012

Hard-Wired For Hope

Did you ever get disappointed and wonder, "Why is it that I continue to hope for what is obviously not going to happen?"  Silly question, I know.  All of us have experienced that. 

Even so, we continue to hope, don't we?  It may seem odd or irrational at times, but despite being disappointed over and over again, we continue to hope.  When we are babies, we hope to one day roll over and are able to look at something other than the ceiling or sky or stroller canopy or roof of a minivan.  We get older and hope to be able to stand up and walk on two feet.  About that time, mom and dad hope that the unexpected flush of a toilet does not mean the loss of another set of car keys.  We get older and hope we make friends at school, get picked for the team, find a date for the dance, get our driver's license, get into the right college, land the perfect job, find the right spouse, have kids, get the kids graduated and out, retire with security, grow old and happy with friends and a family that we love.  And there are a million other hopes in between.  A lot of them get disappointed or even crushed.  So why bother? 

It may be that we continue to hope because it is just in our nature to do so.  Hope is more than just wishing.  Authentic hope is placing our trust in the one who can provide and then expecting something good to happen.  So it may be that the reason some of our hopes go unrealized is that they were misplaced.  We were hoping for what God never intended for us.  

Not everyone will live the storybook life.  But everyone can live a great adventure with God that will cause them to become like the one we follow.  To borrow a line of reasoning, if not the precise application of it from C.S. Lewis, we hope because there is something that can fulfill that hope.  In the same way that hunger is an indicator that there is something in the world - food - that can satisfy that hunger, we hope because there is something wired into us that knows there is something (or someone) out there that can fulfill our hopes.  We just have to look in the right place, and stop looking in the wrong ones. 

Any guesses as to where I might suggest the right place to look is? 

May you find your hope in the one who does not grant wishes, but instead comes through for those who place their trust in God.  May your hope not be misplaced, being found in things that are only temporary and can never truly satisfy.  May your hope be found in the things that bring delight to the heart of God and add value to this world and the people God created who share it with you.  May your hope never disappoint, because it is not placed in the things or circumstances around you, but in the one who has come to us as a little child - Emmanuel - God with us.  

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