Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
~Proverbs 23:18 (ESV)
Does hope for you have a future? Old Testament scholar, Ellen Davis writes this about hope in her commentary on the book of Proverbs: Such a hope dares to face “the evidence” (of our sin) squarely-all the devastation that sin has wrought in our public and private lives-and yet dares further to reimagine the shape of everything including ourselves, in light of the kingdom of God. The righteous are those who regularly exercise the imaginative boldness of children.*
Children have the innocence to hope in a way that looks different than the hope of adults. Children are often too caught up in simple moments of joy to let their hope be cut off.
Once a year, we venture over to San Francisco for a Giants baseball game. It is the same day every year, the day Virgin America Airlines hands out coupons for buy one flight get one free. And since we’re there mostly for the freebie, you can imagine where our seats usually are. Last year we were up high freezing as the wind off the Bay swirled around us. This year I brought 3 jackets, but since my sister-in-law bought our seats, I only needed one. We sat on the 2nd tier between 3rd base and home plate where the sun shines. They were wonderful seats for my husband who wanted to watch baseball. These were perfect seats for me because I like to watch people, and there was as much action in our section as there was on the field.
In the top of the 2nd inning, we saw the police and the paramedics come and take away a fan who demonstrated in front of us that he had the stomach flu. The clean-up crew followed. In the top of the 4th inning, I noticed a little boy with ice cream dripping down his arm walk up the stairs in front of us, stand on the platform and look up trying to find a familiar face. Not finding it, he walked down the stairs and wandered around content with licking his ice cream. It was as though he was waiting to be found.
My initial thought was that he needed a napkin. But as I watched the ushers, and then a fan, and finally police officers talking with him, I realized he needed a parent. For about 5 minutes, the little guy went back and forth answering questions and licking his ice cream, as the ushers whispered into their walkie-talkies. He was as intent on eating his ice cream as the people around him were on finding his parents. It seemed that he was too young to fully grasp the reality of his circumstances or to be as worried as the adults around him were.
But how sweet the reunion was, at the bottom of the 4th inning, when he saw his parent. As he ran into the arms of a relieved father, his tears finally came. He finally realized he was lost. As I watched this tender moment of hope, trust and reunion, I realized just how often I am hopelessly lost, and do not even know it.
Children of God abide in the hope that they are found, forgiven and have a future with their heavenly Father. Children of God trust that through Jesus immeasurably more than they could ask or imagine can and does happen according to the power and the hope at work in them.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon me and come
and pray to me, and I will hear you.
~Jeremiah 29:11-12 (ESV)
May you and I be children of hope prayerfully receiving the future God has for us.
*Proverb, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Song, by Ellen Davis, page 78.