This entry was posted by on Sunday, 7 May, 2006 at

In my Bible study a few weeks ago, we discussed how the word “hope” has different meanings for Christians and non-believers. For Christians, “hope” is a guarantee; something that you know is going to happen. For non-believers, it is really quite the opposite. “Hope” is something that you want to happen, but it is not at all certain. In fact, it generally implies that this thing is more likely to NOT happen.

How did this difference occur? I can only imagine that it came from repeatedly hoping for things that did not come to pass. I think I can speak for cynics everywhere to say that hope only leads to disappointment and regret. That is, of course, the hope for things that will not be. If you always hope for true things, you will never be disappointed.

It has been a source of great vexation to me that both my own experience and my understanding of the Bible lead me to the conclusion that God does not really give a flying noodle what I want. Oh, there are some verses here and there that would seem to suggest otherwise, and some fringe theologians have built entire ministries off of that, but I think that those who really study the Bible would agree with me, though they would obviously spin it quite differently.

Anyway, why should He care, really? When what I want and what I feel changes from day to day, moment to moment? I keep wanting to think that my feelings mean something, and that the things that are important to me might be important to someone else. But I am constantly reminded that they do not, are not. Ultimately, they can not, because in order for what I want and what I feel right now to be significant, to be “true,” I would also have to admit that what I used to want and feel are just as valid. But in most cases, they are not.

An eternal God sees my yesterday in exactly the same way that He sees my tomorrow. What possible importance can my desires du jour have? But for me, who has no choice other than to live one day at a time, nothing could be more important.

I Had Such Hopes…
I have a journal in which I write even less often than I blog, but I have been using it for the past few days to write some notes in. Today, I happened to read what was on the first page. Written during my church group’s summer retreat last year, it was a list of issues that I was struggling with at that time. The shocking thing was that I could easily make an identical list today. How can this be? Has really nothing changed, at all? What in the world have I been doing for the last year?

I have not been literally sitting around doing nothing. There have been struggles, ups and downs, disappointments and new hopes; but all the while I had the ultimate hope that I was on a path that was leading in a positive direction. Yet here I am, in exactly the same place. All of my searching has led nowhere, all of my hopes have been in vain.

And yet, foolish as it seems, I still dare to hope that God will come through, that love will come through. Honestly, that is why Sundays have become so distasteful. I start every Sunday morning with such hope, but by the end of the day, I am always left broken again.

One Response to “Hope”

  1. goodbyetonto

    Timoth, it just so happened that when I turned 30 this year, I also was seriously considering what I believed hope to be in relationship to what happens after we die. I am aware of a few different views. They each have a beginning and an end to life. One leads me to a place of unknown consciousness or nothingness. The other places me in either Heaven or Hell. Based on my understanding of Hell, I cannot actually hope to experience that. There is nothingness. Is it all that bad? The concept is depressing, but initially, its payoff seems something to hope for. No more grief, no more sadness, no more depression. However, there is much to this life that I do not want to see end and therefore I cannot hope for nothingness because in that reality, those things are gone. It is hard for me to hope for heaven, as I feel that logically, I would not be going there unless I repented and that whole nine yards. What I hope for is a fantastical world that I have molded based on what I do not like about this one. The odds that this would be the outcome are highly unlikely.

    I also want to say that I have become very apprehensive to having hope in Christ, all over again, for the third time. It is not that the real/unreal person of Christ has let me down or continually lets me down. It is my ability to comprehend and believe the theology that has let me down. I typically get to a point where I see so much nonsense, that I get turned off by it. That cycle ends poorly and only encourages codependency.

    When I read your post, I wondered if you were at the level of dissapointment that I am currently at, when you were thirty. Maybe it is vanity for me to say this, but when people see the world through the lens that we see it, hope is a hard thing to access.

    It seems that if I were to place HOPE in Christ, that it would not be enough for me to make some of the changes the Bible says I should make. I would make those changes if I KNEW (whatever that means). But the Bible does not talk about knowing in the empirical sense. At least not for those living during the Holy Spirit phase. It is all about FAITH. I would go as far to say that I would place faith in Christ to forgive and save me. That is it! I mean, I do not know anyone else advertising that to me. However, to go as far to put my family second to Him, to risk my very life and the lives of others? Those actions seem to require a knowing, of which I do not have.

    What can I know? I know that what I feel right now is what I feel right now. I know that next year, I might not feel this way. I know that this life can be looked at as a fucked up tease. I know that I have enjoyed many parts of it, but am so afraid of losing those parts to dying. I know that I do not have faith in God anymore. I know that I wish I did and that some would call this wishing, a type of faith. However, I also know enough about the Bible to know that it is not enough. So I deductive reasoning tells me that I will be spending an eternity in Hell. I know that I have tried to convince myself that I am wrong with little to no success. I know that I will not pull the blinds over my eyes by choice. However, should I be forced into submission, then I know that I would gladly submit. I know that the longer I type, I make less and less sense. So I will stop there.

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