At this same time last year I was in a quandary of sorts.
I had been living in California for the last year and a half, and was two months shy of finishing my Counseling degree. For a year leading up to this point I had this mysterious but strong impression that something major was going to change in my circumstances that spring. But I had no clue what that would mean or what that change would look like.
I guess we could say that God was building my confidence in his sovereignty without letting me in on any of the details–which I’ve found to be his M.O. (insert side eyes here).
Now, for someone like me, when God gives an inkling of something exciting regarding the future without also providing the details, it’s like a parent who tells their child there’s hidden candy that’s been stashed away somewhere for them in their house, but they have no clue where–so in other words, absolute torture.
To have a sense about something from God but yet not know the details sets my mind and heart reeling with ideas of what it could mean, how it could happen, and when it would all go down.
In that space between now and not yet, I have discovered that I have one of two choices–to remain hopeful or become fearful.
When I reflect back on the sense I had from God last year, and the uncertainty I found myself in, I undoubtedly also remember the unexpected and incredible ways that God showed up and made His will clear.
Here’s the recap:
- A work trip to Chicago led to meeting the program director for Moody’s counseling program.
- An unexpected cancelled flight forced my boss and I to stay an extra night in Chicago.
- This cancelled flight led to a clearly God-arranged dinner with my boss and the program director to discuss my future “options”.
- Through these events and every new and exciting provision from that moment on, God made his plan and purpose unmistakably clear.
But even though I’ve experienced God delivering me from seasons of obscurity and into clarity and provision, the unknown still challenges me just the same.
So, why is it so hard to trust God even when we have so much evidence of his past faithfulness?
Well, I think one reason could be that it’s so easy to yield to fear rather than persevere in hope. I’m realizing that we are continually faced with the choice to either be hopeful or fearful in the face of an unknown future.
Both hope and fear are future oriented. They look into the future and have two very different outlooks. Hope sees the unlimited possibilities of good, whereas fear sees the unlimited possibilities of potential disappointment.
A good friend said to me the other day, “it’s so much easier for our hearts to become conditioned by disappointment rather than hope.” And, I’m sure all of us can attest to how true that is. But it’s hope that our hearts so desperately need in order to have the strength to trust God’s sovereignty in the unknown.
Hebrews 6:19 describes hope as an “anchor for our souls”, which I find so interesting. Reason being, in my experience hope has looked less like an anchor and more like a blade of grass–fragile and weak–wilting with every fearful thought. But this verse is referencing a hope that is often foreign to our hearts.
“God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind… Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. THIS hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”
Our hope is as strong as what it is built upon, or in other words, what it is sourced in. These verses tell us that THIS hope is an anchor, strong and trustworthy, because it’s based upon God’s unchanging character, not upon our ever-changing circumstances or feelings.
When we’re faced with the unknown it is hope in a known and unchanging God that will become our soul’s anchor. GOD is faithful, secure, and trustworthy, and THAT is the source of our hope. Where fear would produce a weak and troubled heart, hope produces a strong and joyful spirit.
One thing I’m also learning is that God is drawn to the heart that has lost hope. The two disciples walking hopelessly with their heads held low because of seeing Christ die on the cross, received a very unexpected companion on their journey. Christ could have been anywhere on that day, but his priority was to come and revive the hope of two of his friends.
They said, “we had HOPED that he would be the person we thought he was”, and Christ came to remind them that He was all they had hoped and so much more.
As you and I look towards the future and are faced with the decision to embrace hope or fear, let us remember that hoping in a faithful God will not only give us strength for the present, but unmatched joy when we think about the future that God is unfolding for us.