I wrote a huge post today, and then I decided to not post it. Funny how that works. But sometimes, writing is just good for one’s soul and kept for one’s eyes alone. Yet the need to process more is still there, so here goes. . . are we stewarding hope?
I am not joking when I say that I keep hearing the same Scriptures being mentioned in every sermon I hear and every devotional I read. How much clearer can it get than that? So because I am not stupid, I’m realizing I need to grab hold of these points that I keep hearing. And one of them is hope. Yet I’m beginning to think that we can’t just have hope or be carriers of hope; I think God truly wants us to steward hope. What is stewarding? What does it look like? Sadly, I can tell you what it is not. One of the biggest cultural shocks we’ve had since coming to Scotland is seeing so much trash everywhere. Granted, it’s very windy here. So we put our recycling out in these little bins with loose covers that are provided by the Council, and then a big wind hits that night . . . our yard is then covered in our recycling. So that’s half the battle. But it’s shocking to take nature walks here and see trash. That does not happen in Colorado like it does here. The amount of trash to be found in the city is awful, but even in the villages and on the motorways, there’s just trash or rubbish as we now say. And there are reasons why that is true here, but I want to avoid blaming and politics. So that’s just a big example right now of what stewardship is not. Scotland is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it’s not being cared for. Stewardship is not a value in this regard; it’s sad.
Yet if I look at myself, I would say that I am not stewarding hope. If I was, I would be more than a carrier of it as I would be cultivating it, nurturing it, and spreading it. The main attraction of me would be hope. And if Scripture says “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you,” (which it does in 1 Peter 3:15), then our hope should be noticeable, yes? I’m not sure if I always notice if someone just carries something with them? But if they steward it, if they are super intentional and value it, then it’s usually noticeable.
So this leads me to asking deeper questions of myself; such as am I hopeful? If not, why not? Isn’t Jesus enough to give me hope? Didn’t He come to give me abundant life? So if I’m not living an abundant life, then why not? For me, I typically allow my circumstances to determine my emotions, my actions, and my heart attitude. Yet is this right? More and more God is showing me that it is not right or healthy to live in that way. He is bigger than my circumstances. His Word is bigger than my emotions. And my heart attitude determines so much.
I look around at this place where we live and I see a lot of hopelessness. I also see a lot of misplaced hope. I see people hoping for finances, for a bigger house, for this check to come, or this job to work out. I see so much hope put into the government and its programs. And then oddly enough, I hear so much negativity about the Church; what is up with that? It’s like hope is missing, oddly or wrongly placed, or just not valued. If we infused hope into everything and everywhere we go, what would that look like? What would we look like?
I recently went through a season of feeling hopeless, and it’s yucky. It’s an unpleasant state to say the least. I posted a photo of one of the fruit trees (apple, we think) in our garden, and I showed it in its ugly, very pruned state. So today, I’m posting what it looks like now. It’s filled with hope. Spring is a season that bring so much hope. I feel like Easter itself and the celebration of all that Jesus did and all that He is ushers in so much hope. So for me, personally, our circumstances are very tough right now. We can’t look too far ahead because everything is uncertain and it could be scary. However, I’ve chosen to place my eyes on hope. I’ve committed to digging in deep and to take this season of Spring to plant and sow into my harvest. I’m making efforts to hope and to do my part to see a fruitful harvest. But what if another storm comes, or this current one we’re in doesn’t dissipate? What if in September we’re still in the same circumstances? What if it stays 55 degrees all Spring and into Summer? What’ll we do then?
All I know and all I can do is keep my hope on. And because this is a newer thing for me, I hope it’ll continue. I hope I can be diligent enough to steward it well so that it’ll last. But either way, I do believe it’s a worthwhile pursuit. I think I can’t lose at this point. And let’s be real, the view of the flowering, budding tree is 100% better than the view of the bare, ugly tree. So let’s get our hope on and see how it looks! (I’m sure there will be an updated post when we get to see if this tree bears fruit.)