It’s been a year of incredulous, imprecatory Psalms – my mouth often full of despairing questions, my heart often full of discouragement, my mind often racing to reason out the lawlessness I see. I’ve prayed the same prayers stuck in rush hour on the 405 after beat-down weeks and let-down news as David did in the heat of the battle – “How long, Oh LORD?” “How long must evil prevail? “How long must righteousness be forsaken and trampled while lawlessness and wickedness abound?”
Hoping is humanity’s constant, throbbing condition. Excepting the staunchest of nihilists, it’s hammered into the human heart to hope as sure as reality is shattered with sin and suffering. The existence of hope implies a reality that is incomplete, and this is a common thread that binds a whole world’s worth of history: everyone, everywhere, hopes.
We go wrong when we hang our hope on what can be seen, what can be sold and solved and self-serving – but all of these fail. Sight fails, along with dollars and sense; stuff and self-gratification burn as fast as they come, leaving only longing in their wake. Hope all you want, but you will always want if you haven’t found the only worthy object. Hope is a condition that only finds resolve if it’s object is sure.
I think of the billions of people who hope, desperately, day after day in the wrong things. I pray that my imprecation and incredulity – induced by headlines and hard weeks – would only fuel my desire to share the hope I have – the only Hope that is steadfast and anchoring and sure.
I’ve long treasured the season of advent for the mirror it is – the long-awaited arrival of Messiah two thousand years past joins the present long-awaiting of His return. How often I miss the meaning that so richly fills every second and stretches far beyond this season. How often I become like those who have no hope when I survey a broken world whose fixing seems beyond finite feasibility. How often I foolishly believe that hope is dependent on what I can see or sense or make sense of, forgetting that sight fails, forgetting the desperation of the ages that advent remembers — when no eye saw and no ear heard and it was then that Hope was born.
I have hope in the incredulity and despair, I have hope in the face of hard weeks and headlines crying “how long, Lord?”. I have hope even when I feel blind, even when the world seems to suck and suffocate my breath away. I have hope when I can’t feel it, and when I can’t touch it I still know it to be tangible because Christmas is the prelude to the torn veil. Hope – promised – incarnate – sure.