I recall as a child, absolutely hating the “review sheets” our teachers would hand out to us a day or two before tests. They were an annoyance. Busy work. A fly in my ointment. There were better things to do with my time, and often the only reason I would complete them was because the teacher required it, and those review sheets were graded.
Fast-forward a few years into the glory days of college (or “gory” days for some of us). I prayed for review documents. There was so much to study. If the professor would hand out a review, it could narrow the study search to what was on that piece of paper, and leave me with more time to participate in personal recreation.
So let’s review, for those of you that cleared out Wednesday’s blog from your inbox.
Why? Because there will . . . be . . . a . . . test. You can count on it. Actually, we can all count on living it.
Simply put, the concept of hope is both misunderstood and inappropriately used by many of us. We hang our dreams and visions on hope, and then wait for hope to “do its thing.” But that is a never-ending wait. Because hope, although an integral part of accomplishing practically anything, does absolutely nothing on its own. That’s why so many people have lost hope. They once had it, carried it with them in their pockets every day alongside their spare change, and waited for the magic to begin.
But the magic never came. Their hopes failed them, they think. A client once told me during a counseling session, “There is no point in having hope. Hope is quite possibly the most disappointing concept I have ever heard of.”
Let’s peruse hope through the lens of relationships and marriage. In marriage, we face a lot of challenges. General stress, the loss of passion, disappointment, anger, philosophical differences, and a veritable laundry list of “relational garbage” seem to litter the landscape at times.
Perhaps one of the saddest dynamics however, is that of one person hoping that the other one will catch the fire and mend whatever seems to be broken at the time. Or even worse, both are inspired by newly discovered hope to repair the broken parts, and both sit back and wait for the movie to start. But with that being said, it’s a show that never even hits the screen.
Why? Because we either lack the knowledge, or do not have the willingness that a good dose of hope requires. The knowledge or understanding we lack speaks to the action plan that must accompany hope for it to be of any benefit whatsoever. The willingness speaks to our propensity to roll up our sleeves and work hard to repair the cracks that normally appear in the foundations of our marriages.
Have you ever discovered a crack in the foundation of your house? Knowing that the foundation has somehow shifted due to drought, storms, and the general battering a house undertakes, typically moves us to action! None of us want our homes to be damaged any further than they already are, so we make the call, have the work done, and shell out the cash.
But for whatever reason, we see and feel the cracks in our relationships, and chalk them up to happenstance, circumstances, or a weakness in the other spouse. We catch a small dose of hope here and there, maybe through a sermon at church, an inspirational speaker, or watching our friends renovate hurting relationships. But whether it is simple ignorance, or just being relationally lazy, we somehow hang out and wait for hope to do its thing.
Why aren’t we as quick to mend the cracks in our marriage foundations?
David, in Psalm 39:7 said:
“And now Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You!”
That, my friends, is a giant-killing morsel of scripture. For what do we wait? The National Guard will not show up to save your marriage. God is not a Vaudeville act or a standup comedian. He is not a performer in the sense of rescuing us from our own responsibilities, duties, or poor choices. His performances are seen on a much, much grander stage. He generally shows off when His children have been diligent, faithful, and obedient.
In other words, when they have put their noses to the grindstone and done the work, depending on Him for the strength and resourcefulness to stick with it.
Make no mistake friends, hope is a wonderful thing and is worthy of being celebrated. It is similar to a baseball team winning its division and celebrating. But isn’t the World Series the ultimate goal? They don’t just stop playing in the hope of winning the biggest prize. They keep on pressing! They do their very best to overcome any weaknesses they may have as a team, and are proactive in knowing all about the other team so they can be a worthy opponent.
Hope is a worthy team member. But it needs additional support from other players like knowledge, understanding, planning, and setting out with a well-researched strategy. But in a marriage or serious relationship, don’t discount the need for commitment and the covenants you likely shared when you tied the knot.
Most of us know many people who have once felt hopeless, but buckled down, found real hope, and did the work needed to more than adequately achieve their goals. I’m one of them, and you may be too. Ultimate hope comes in the person of Christ. If you are wondering why hope has escaped you, that might be a great place to start.
We would all love to hear your stories of hope found, and victories attained.
Care to share?
And as always . . .