Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Wisdom of Hope

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
~Proverbs 13:12

The summer temperatures have been in the 100’s for a week. When it doesn’t even cool down at night, I can start to feel sick, and I don’t think it is just because my body is overheated.  I wonder if I don’t feel well because my hope in a lower temperature is deferred day after day? Could it be I am heart sick because my desire for cooler weather is withering like the plants? And isn’t it true that cooler temperatures will eventually prevail?  Courageously waiting for hope to come from God takes time.

Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!
~Psalm 31:23

In our spiritual lives it is hard to separate hope and waiting, for at the end of waiting are fulfilled desires. But there is a wisdom in how you and I wait. The Scriptures reminds us that our hope and desire are not to be deferred to people or riches or things of this world but the eternal realities of salvation, deliverance, light, grace, goodness and mercy found only in the Kingdom of God.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
Psalm 33:18

Strength and wisdom are required to defer in a healthy, wholehearted way to the hope God imparts rather than let the heart become sick and impatient. The gift of hope in our times of greatest need comes wrapped in wisdom from God alone.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
~Psalm 62:5

Ultimately, may the wisdom of hope be a desire fulfilled in my life and yours.

Our Hope Set on the Living God

As I read through Paul’s letters to Timothy, I detect some level of anxiety. It could be Paul’s since he gives various warnings and instructions as though Timothy were about to go off to his first year of college. It could be Timothy’s, as he strives to do ministry without his mentor, which is why Paul responds with sound wisdom and encouragement. Most likely it is an anxiety they share because of their common desire to be the Lord’s good and faithful servants who train themselves in godliness.  And it is my anxiety as I prayerfully explore the Scriptures for a deeper understanding of hope and ask where my hope is to be set.

For to this end we toil and strive because we have our hope set on the living God,
who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe.
~1Timothy . 4:10

I am convicted that to have my hope set anywhere else is simply idolatry. And idolatry leads to an anxious life of desiring what leads to destruction and striving to cover up or justify destructive consequences.

St Ignatius of Loyola, who wrote spiritual exercises that for centuries have trained God’s people in godliness, wrote about anxiety. In his following words are hints of what it means for you and I to have our trust properly placed in Jesus and to have our hope set on the living God.

Do what you can calmly and gently. Do not be disturbed about the rest, but leave to God’s providence what you cannot manage yourself. God is well pleased with the earnestness and moderate anxiety with which we attend to our obligations, but He is not pleased with that anxiety which afflicts the soul, because He wishes our limitations and weakness to seek the support of His strength and omnipotence, with the trust that in His goodness He will supply what is lacking to your weakness and shortcomings.
~from The Letters of St. Ignatius of Loyola, William J. Young, SJ

May you and I have our hope set on the living God as we attend to our obligations with a moderate amount of anxiety.