“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”- 1 Peter 1:3-5
Hope seems to be the theme of our days lately, from CR to the sermon series, to my own wrestling. So here are some more thoughts I jotted down as they came to me the other night:
I know what it is to look forward to heaven. I can’t wait to see Jesus. I’m struck by the term “living hope” in the above passage. Looking forward to heaven is a great thing but I also know how good I am at looking forward to heaven as an escape. I’m especially skilled at longing for heaven while at the same time despairing of earth. This doesn’t feel like living hope to me.
I know that THE Living Hope is my Savior who lives and moves and in whom I live and move. I wonder if living hope is an expectancy to experience eternity one day but ALSO an expectancy to experience a reflection of eternity here on earth through a vibrant relationship with Christ. Keyword: vibrant. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Vibrant, living, ALIVE hope is not just a survival, a trying-to-hang-on-until-Jesus-comes kind of life. I’ve spent countless days doing just that. It doesn’t feel like living. Honestly, it feels a little bit like dying.
Living hope must mean an eternal focus moment by moment, a constant searching for God in all things and a willing, excited obedience to His lead. It’s being saturated with His love and abundance and squeezing it out for His glory. This is vibrant. This is thrilling. This just may be the abundance Jesus was talking about.
I read something recently that I can’t stop thinking about. It was a prayer, “Help me to extract the precious from the difficult.” Life feels like it will always be difficult and I think I need to just let go and stop waiting to get better before I start living. I’ve come to this realization before but I don’t think I understood exactly how to do that. I’ve had a very hard week, weeks. I don’t know, I’ve lost count. Yesterday my blood pressure was lower than it was when I passed out during the test that diagnosed me with POTS. I haven’t had the courage to check it today. I gotta tell ya, when you don’t have enough blood pumping through your veins, it’s difficult to feel like living. It’s easier to pray for death because it feels a lot closer than life.
BUT, I am still here to fulfill a purpose for the glory of God and, if He wants me to do that from my bed, so be it. I will be sick for His glory. I will lie there and extract the precious from the difficult.
Yesterday’s precious: Lying in bed talking to God, being aware of His presence and being gifted with the beautiful song of a bird outside the window. Having the hymn “Sweet Beulah Land” in my head, constantly shifting my focus to eternity and giving me the opportunity to worship while God sustained me. My husband cooking a dinner he knew I needed (very salty to help with the blood pressure) but couldn’t make myself. Practicing a skill that I may one day be able to use to help others.
Some days a living hope may mean following God’s lead outside of this house to serve others. Other days it may mean following God’s lead to do the difficult work of worshiping from the bed, praying for everyone that comes to mind, and thanking Him for the precious. Who am I to question which kind of obedience and glory God wants from me? Both are God-honoring tasks. Both grow my faith. Both squeeze the received love of God out of me for His glory. Both are alive.
May He bring more physical life to my veins with each passing day… but EVEN IF He does not, hope… and Hope… is alive… always.