“Can we talk to God about our pets?” His soft-spoken question and curious eyes exposed that his understanding of prayer was broadening in the moment, as our little group learned about talking to God. The other 1st and 2nd graders listened, as he added, “My fish is sick.”
“Yes, you can! And we’ll also pray together for your fish in a minute.”
This precious little boy hopes his fish will get well. Even better, now he knows he can talk to God, about what he hopes for. Before, his hope was only a thought.
Do you have any hopes that are only thoughts—or maybe, only wishful-thinking conversations with friends?
We hope . . . it doesn’t rain during our event that’s going to be outdoors . . . she believes we’ve forgiven her . . . he realizes the consequence if he disobeys . . . she knows how much God loves her . . . we handle a situation the right way.
“…we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4.10)
Throughout a day and many a night, I have wrestled, stressed, cried, feared about a hope I have. Hope is hardest when the focus of our hope is a person, a relationship, ourself, or a circumstance. We watch—the person, the relationship, the circumstance. We watch for what we want. Possible outcomes—founded on evidences we collect by sight and experiences—flood our mind, and our thoughts often swirl into a torrent of negative feelings and outcomes.
When I take these ‘hope-thoughts’ to God, my soul rests. In the handoff, my focus shifts to God and He fills those places in me with His peace.
At the same time, hope can be hard even when God is our focus, because we have to learn to trust Him. You and I have lived a lot of life relying on people, circumstances, and our self. We have to practice trusting God to learn to trust God. . . just like we practice reading to learn to read.
As we practice placing our ‘hope-thoughts’ in God’s hands over and over again, we open our heart to try on trust. The focus of our hope becomes God.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God. (Ps 146.5)
God sees and attends our heart according to his view of our genuine need. He pours grace so that His love, healing, and strength inspire us look to Him, listen to Him, and loosen our grip on the object of our hope—that He becomes our HOPE, our TRUST.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17.7–8)
. . . Whether my new little friend’s fish gets better or not (let’s pray it does), he engaged with God and God heard him. Their relationship grew because this is what God does. He gives growth–to our knowledge and understanding, our faith, our relationship, as we engage with Him.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15.13)