Hope that runs deep...
In the first part "I want hope... ...don't you" I looked at how to start on the journey of being a person of hope.
In this post I want to talk a little bit about the reality that developing hope in our lives is a process. If hope is personified in Jesus then it's only through forging a deep friendship with him that hope can be deeply embedded in us.
That means allowing his powerful and loving rule into every area of our lives - our thinking, our behaviours, our actions, our relationships. This always leads to life and hope but it isn't always easy.
It's a bit like digging a well or drilling for oil (not that I've ever done this) but my sense is it takes a bit of work before you draw water or find oil. The spade or drill has to go deep.
Some of our patterns of life and thinking and doing run pretty deep. They are rooted in trauma, wrong thinking, bad experiences, and sometimes our own repeated waywardness. And when the source of our hope and trust is in something other than Jesus it becomes a place without hope.
So Jesus gets to work unpacking and unravelling our attitudes and ways of living that stand against his, so that he can reorient them in line with His Way - the Way of Hope.
James, one of the early writers in the church writes this in a letter to followers of Jesus "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." James 1:2-4 (The Message)
The Apostle Paul also writes something similar, "We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy (hope) such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!" Romans 5:3-5 (The Message)
There is a process to hope, that involves getting time with Jesus to allow him to work on our inner lives. To learn in the midst of challenges, difficulty and pressure to allow the Holy Spirit to use it as an opportunity to burrow hope into our lives.
Our sources of hope in life have often been like broken or damaged wells that hold no water, but Jesus offers a well, that is a perpetual spring of life and hope - that well is the presence of the Holy Spirit. As we let the Holy Spirit into our old patterns of living and thinking he brings the rule of Jesus by renewing and changing us from the inside out until we become people, like Jesus, who are people of hope.