Mitch and my first apartment was on the top of a three story house. We had angular walls that created a low ceiling. The apartment consisted of three rooms that were all the same size; a bedroom, a living room and a kitchen. This meant that our kitchen was spacious. As a result, we found ourselves living life around our kitchen table.
I remembered recently how we would sit around that kitchen table and pray for people that God brought to mind. One time, Mitch got a song for it. The song became a backbone for us in intercession for others. It was a silly, single-lined tune and went like this:
What if the best thing that could happen, happened to _________ ?
We would then fill in the blank with someone’s name, and proceed to repeat the phrase with different names that came to mind.
What if the best thing that could happen, happened to Julie?
What if the best thing that could happen, happened to Lauren?
What if the best thing that could happen, happened to Casey?
What if the best thing that could happen, happened to Josh?
We would go on and on until our minds were filled like a balloon fit to pop with best-case scenarios for others. It was an amazing exercise of hope. Without fail, the rise of hope produced a giddy joy. We would end up in silly fits of laughter drawing out outrageous scenarios of goodness for the lives of others. Then … once we were FILLED WITH HOPE, we would release those best-case-scenarios over people in prayer. It is fun to pray from optimism instead of pessimism. I mean honestly, what if?
What if the best thing that could happen, happened?
To this day, the question challenges my hope barometer. Hope is the expectation of good. Why is that so hard for us?
I think our hope tends to be weak because we are scared of it. Many of us have been burned by disappointments and are afraid to hope again. We lack the courage that hope requires. Our weary hearts convince us that it is easier to leave hope behind. Hope involves vulnerability and risk. Disappointment is a bear. No one wants it. But what is the alternative to living with hope? A life marked by pessimism? Fear? Despair? A journey half taken without ever knowing the beauty of the second half?
I believe that hope and the goodness of God are linked. If I have a low-grade view of the goodness of God, I will also likely have a low-grade experience of hope. I recall the fox in the Chronicles of Narnia saying of Aslan, “He is everything we have ever heard.” I believe that the goodness of God is everything we have hoped for and more. If that’s true, than why would we not hope for the best?
In my experience, hope is a lifeline. I have let go of it too many times. When I lose track of hope, I find myself grid-locked into my circumstances with no way out. Its a terrible feeling; like being in a pit and watching the safety rope being pulled up without you.
Let me ask you a question, how often do you put your feet where your eyes have not first landed?
Hope is like the eyes of the soul. It helps you see where you are going.
Friends, I don’t know why we have disappointments. I don’t get it. I do know, however, that hope is a better protector than fear, even fear disguised as “caution.” Hope will keep you feeling alive and moving courageously through life. Hope is the road that seeks to lead you from good, to better to best. It is worth traveling on. I leave you with this challenge:
Hope so big it makes people uncomfortable.
Hope so much you wonder if it’s safe.
Hope for the best.
Hope against hope.
Hope for hope.
Don’t give up.
Put your hope in God.
Consider that He is better than you know.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13