"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?" Romans 8:24
She clicked her ruby slippers three times, and each time she said, "There's no place like home." It was where she wanted to be more than anywhere else in the world. Home was the place that made everything make sense for Dorothy. She was from Kansas, and she was trying to survive in the land of Oz. She had suddenly awakened in a world with munchkins and scarecrows and wicked witches, and home was a place she wanted to get back to.
We, too, find ourselves in a world we can't understand. We are Dorothys in a world that rarely feels completely safe to us. We hunger to get to a place that feels like home, a safe place where things are good and familiar and warm. We grow tired of the strangeness and harshness of the world we see when we look around us. Our hearts yearn for a place they can be surrounded by love and care, friends, and lots of "Auntie Ems."
That place is hope.
For it is hope that helps us to make sense of this world in which we are living. It is hope that says, What you see with you eyes is not all there is. Look closer and you will see there is so much more. And as we start to see the bigger picture, our hope grows. We can make more sense of the suffering and troubles around us. We can see signs that there is real and deep meaning in this world, and that sparks hope.
Unfortunately, hope has no strength of its own. We can't hope in hope; we have to put our hope in something else. So the strength of hope lies in what it hopes in. That means that what we put our hope in really matters. If we put our hope in lesser things, we set ourselves up for disappointment. If we hope that we get a promotion and our boss favors someone else, we're crushed. But if we put our hope in God's provision for our lives, promotion or not, our hope grows as we see God work, because we've put our hope in something strong enough to sustain us.
And a mere promotion isn't nearly strong enough. We can hope for a promotion and get it, only to realize that what we were really hoping for was not a fatter wallet, but a richer life. And a promotion alone can't provide that.
Our hopes have been a unique way of guiding us to what our hearts truly hunger for. And this is our real hope; that there is order behind the universe and that things make sense no matter which way they go. When we feel out of control and lost, we hope desperately someone is in control. But only God can stoke the fire of hope with that kind of assurance, because he is the one in control. And as he reassures us that he is looking after us, we can put more and more of our trust in him.
Trust is hope with gray hair. A little older, a little wiser, still waiting, still anticipating, still hoping--but believing at the same time. Believing in the order and the good even when it can't always be seen. Trust is the older sister of hope who lives with quiet confidence, standing tall in a world that she doesn't always understand. She teaches us to close our eyes and click our ruby slippers and whisper, "There’s no place like hope. There's no place like hope. There's no place like hope."
~Lord, you are not the Wizard of Oz, you are the God of the universe, the only one who can truly show us how to get home. We've lost the yellow brick road, but we trust you are the Way and that you are guiding our every step. We place our hope in you and ask you to mature it into deep and profound trust, today and every day. Amen.