Tuesday, May 4, 2010

which hope do you hope in?

I have 2 different trains of thought going through my head but I think I'll blog about the freshest in my mind first.  I had an intriguing conversation tonight about God and faith and where our part comes in.  The old saying of "God helps them who help themselves"  came up.  Another interesting thing came up that I got surprisingly (at least to me) quickly passionate about.  Is faith a crutch?  In my head I momentarily laughed and thought, no it isn't a crutch for me, it's a wheelchair!  I would not be able to function in my daily life without my faith.  It was brought up how some people find all their hope in faith and then when life gets ugly, which it does for each of us at some point or another, those same people crumble under the let down of why life got ugly when they had faith.

I was suddenly passionate and learned as I spoke that this is what I believe about faith, there are two types of faith.  One is the hope of glory the other is the hope of happiness.  Let me explain.  My hope is in the Lord, in the fact that He alone is unchanging.  My hope is of a glorious tomorrow not of a comfortable today.  The other camp of people put their faith in hoping that God will right all wrongs here on this earth.  Unfortunately when He doesn't right all wrongs here in this life, these people fall hard and fast. 

The Bible promises us hardship.  We are told not only to expect trials but to rejoice in them.  This world is an ugly, sinful, horrible, messed up place.  If we seek perfection here, we are doomed to disappointment.  BUT when we hope in a place of perfection beyond this life,  a hope that knows that He WILL indeed right the wrongs just not in this world, a hope that there is something so much more wonderful and amazing waiting for us than the trivial life we live here, the hope is not dashed when the world is ugly. 

Too many Christians sign up for the hope of happiness, the hope that life won't be hard, the hope that Christ will rescue us from this life.  Not nearly enough people sign up for the eternal hope of glory, the hope of being refined so that others can see His reflection in us, the hope that our eternal God is also unchanging.

I personally, am much more hopeful about a perfect tomorrow where I spend every day basking in His glory than a comfortable today.  As I have said often, God is more concerned with our eternal salvation than our temporal comfort.  I'm ok with that.  It doesn't mean I like suffering any more than anyone else.  It doesn't mean that I want trouble in this life.  It does mean that when trouble and pain come to my life, I know that God is still unchanging and He has an eternal plan that we usually cannot see.  Nope, I still can't explain how evil things are part of His eternal plan, but I still know He is faithful.  I still know that someday I will join Him in paradise beyond imagination.  And THAT my friends, is where I place my hope! 

Your turn, is your faith in the hope of glory or the hope of happiness?

food for thought:

Habbakuk 3: 17-18  "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
(emphasis mine)

Romans 9:16 "It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy."

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