Monday, June 23, 2008

no eye has seen

"Because even if He killed me... I'd keep on hoping..."
Job 13:15

First there was the couple who hoped their twin boys would just get along. Then there was the guy who hoped the giant boat he was building really would end up needing use in the end. There was an old man who hoped God would make good on His promise to bless him with descendants that outnumbered the stars. There was a mother who hoped her infant son would be spared when she placed him amid the swaying waters of the Nile. And there was an entire nation of people who hoped that someday, someday, they'd be looking at the soil they were meant to inherit - not foreign ground they were forced to work.

Hope is woven through every story and life in the books of the Old Testament. But not so much in word as in - something else. No one has to say they're hoping for a child or a spouse or their father's blessing or deliverance or purpose or rescue. It's just there, in the lines that sculpt their faces in our minds as we read, that make them as real today as they were all those years ago. We know they hoped because we do, too, and we know that we would had we been in their shoes.

But the Bible doesn't think of hope as we do. The Bible-kind of hoping is different. If you look for the word 'hope' in the back of my Bible, for instance, the verb hope, the first mention of it isn't anywhere near any of these stories. Not that hope didn't exist. It just seems hope, in its purest, most God-given form, was meant to make an entrance on a stage a little more bizarre. A stage where it would seem totally inappropriate, in fact. God chooses to first place this verb - 'hope' - before us in the book of Job. A book I have hardly ever read and do not particularly enjoy reading. A book I read a few days in a row about a year ago and now am happy to pass over. But a book that, strangely, the Father seemed to feel was absolutely perfect for the introduction of the idea of Biblical hope. And He ties it to these words that come out of Job's mouth: "Because even if He killed me" - lovely - "I'd keep on hoping."

God loves us. And He cares deeply about every detail of our lives. But He also wants us to grow up. There are things in us that we don't have to mature into; they're just a basic part of our DNA. It's not that these things are always wrong, but they aren't the best. The best was what we were created for, but we're now a part of a human race that will always be flawed until God sets us right again. And part of our journey, if we decide to follow Christ, is to figure out what the "best" things are - what we were created for. Interestingly we aren't alone in the figuring out - God longs to show us. But it does require some action on our part. Some reaching for the best. Here's an example: we are all born as dreamers. But it would seem that sometimes, God doesn't care about our dreams. We don't often get the job we've always dreamed of, or the spouse or the kids or the paycheck or even the things we'd label, on our own, as more worthy than others. Some of us dream of going into ministry only to find our efforts thwarted at every turn in the road. It's far easier to swallow God's blatant rejection of your dream to own a BMW than to see Him dispel your dreams of adopting internationally. It doesn't make sense. If what we dream of is good, dignified, holy even, then why does He say no? Because we can dream without Him. There is something harder to do than dream, something deeper and grittier and much more costly. Hope. It is the better of the two, and it is one of the bests we as believers are called to.

But hope is not something we are born with. It is not a part of our basic DNA. We are actually disinclined to hope, and this is because we are, in our human nature, creatures of fear. Hope is the opposition of fear - but not in an antonymical kind of way. In an opposing, force vs. force kind of way. God doesn't give us a spirit of fear - but we inherited it when we were born into sin. God tells us that hope is one of the three things that remain - beside it are faith and love - and what remains is certainly not of this world or of this flesh. What remains is His entirely. And without Him, we cannot taste or see or understand it. We like to use the word 'hope' because we intrinsically know it means something greater than 'want' or 'dream' or 'wish'. But we don't know why. When I learned I was pregnant, I felt the Father extending it to me. I was totally battered and entirely furious with Him and I honestly wanted nothing to do with it, but like the starving child whose pride has finally worn thin, I begrudgingly took HIs hand and held within my own something entirely new to me. I was hesitant at first because fear, as horrid and draining as it is, was a comfort. It made me feel sane, since fear is what so many seemed to think I should feel. And it made me feel powerful, since as long as I feared I was in control. Fear kept me from looking like an idiot. But, like I said, I was starving. So I reached out and took hold of Hope. And it was awkward. It still is. Hoping does not come easily. But I can do it now. Because, in some ways, He killed me. Or, more specifically, He killed my dreams. It was Him, after all, who let me starve. But now I am feasting. And it's like I never tasted in the first place.

Let God give you Hope. It will not feel good. Mostly because He usually has to strip something good away. But it will, for lack of a better word, blow your mind. God will absolutely blow the doors off of what you think He wants to do for you. When Paul writes to the church in Corinth that "no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9), he isn't making it up. And he isn't just talking about Heaven. There's so much to life that we often miss because we hold onto what we are convinced is the best. Let God give you the best. Stop trying to figure out how to get your hands on it. Stop trying to be good enough or to think in the right way or to accept where you are and what life has handed you (frustratingly, reverse psychology doesn't work on Him). Stop trying. Hold out your hand and ask for Hope.



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47 comments:

sumi said...

Yes! I'll dare to take a good dollop of hope, please. Even in my brokenness and the bleakness of my prospects.

I love the verse in Psalm 130: Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy...

If I draw alongside Him and join myself to him I will find the mercy that is such a part his character. Who he is, is why I can hope.

Many blessings, Boothe. I am always glad to see a post of yours.

Kelly Brown said...

I had honestly never thought of hope like that. I want so badly to hang on to my sadness, insecurity and judgment over the babies I've lost that I seem to have forgotten about hope. You're right, it's easier and more comfortable but never rewarding. We often forget that God is still on the throne and is always wanting whats best for us. I'm so happy that you extended your hand to hope as you await this precious little life. He is raising you to new life!
Kelly Brown

Chrissy said...

Thank you. I think I needed this!

Michelle said...

Wow...he has taught you something profound. I am going to have to digest this a little and come back to it again. Thanks for putting it out there.

Anonymous said...

could I suggest I book I think you would really like.... THe Gospel According to Job. by Mike Mason. I think you would like His style of writting...he is a thinker and very honest. I got my copy at Amazon...he is not a well known writer so lifeway does not carry his books. Well worth the read. blessing to you on your journey:)

Anonymous said...

You have no idea what your post has meant to me this morning. A God thing for sure...
You are such an awesome writer! Thanks for sharing your heart. And the blessing you received last Wednesday when you went for your ultrasound...WOW...God is so good...

Laurie said...

Oh Boy Boothe,

I sure hear the hope in your post today. God is so good and it blesses me to know He has you in this place. And I love the Hope he has birthed in your heart and the new life He has blessed you with carrying. You are tasting His love and goodness and it is sweet. I love you guys and continue praying for blessings for you, Conor and Sellers.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Lindsey said...

Hey, my name is Lindsey. I've been reading your blog for awhile now but have never commented. First I want to say what a blessing your writing is to others. What you have to say is so encouraging.
And thank you for what you said in this post. I needed to hear that. I am going through a rough spot right now searching for a new job and trying to figure what and where I am supposed to be and I am so frustrated and tired of worrying and wondering and waiting for some obvious sign to point me in the right direction. I have never been good at listening to Him; I feel like I don't know how. Probably b/c I always think I know best!

Blake & Danielle said...

I have been held hostage to fear for a few weeks now and it is miserable. Your words have pierced my soul at desperate point in this journey of life. I am seeking true hope at this very moment and pray that God extends it to me like never before. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Boothe -
I have been following your life's journey on your blog for almost a year now. I have been encouraged many times over by your words and your faithfullness. Thank you for sharing your heart and putting yourself out there so that others may benefit from your wisdom and experiences. I know it has not always been easy, but you have constantly remained "real" in your circumstances and I have found myself checking in on your site weekly to stay encouraged myself. Thank you! Your family is in our prayers right now, especially for a healthy pregnancy for you!! I have two year old Ella, and am currently 20 weeks along with a little boy - our son. We share a few similarities in our journey to start a family and I think that is why I have been so drawn to your site. If you have time, or want to check out a glimpse of our lives, you can at www.totsites.com/tot/ellaeliz
God Bless you and your family Boothe.
With love, Jill in Ohio

ladymundie said...

It is amazing how perfect your post is for my life in this moment. I am pregnant and worry over every little thing. I need hope and reassurance that everything will be ok. It was God's perfect timing for you to post this today.

We're praying for you in DC.

dana said...

Thank you.

Angie said...

Beautifully written. I can't remember how I came across your blog. But I continue to be blessed each time I read a new entry. I don't know if you have any names picked out for this new little girl, but "Hope" seems to be appropriate. May God continue to bless you with HOPE.

Stephanie said...

"But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more."
Psalm 71:14

Thanks for the encouragement to hope in our Great God, Boothe.
Stephanie

www.livininaboysworld.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I was hesitant at first because fear, as horrid and draining as it is, was a comfort. It made me feel sane, since fear is what so many seemed to think I should feel. And it made me feel powerful, since as long as I feared I was in control. Fear kept me from looking like an idiot.

Your words touched me so deeply. These words are where I am right now and having hope is where I know I should be. I needed this post today. I am going to try, as you have, to let the Lord take my hand and "kill" my dreams. Thank you.

Judy said...

I am amazed at how you put words on to paper/the screen. God has truly gifted you. You're words today about HOPE are so true! And I can't begin to tell you how much they describe my life. I had a dream and a hope of a family with 4 kids.. then I had one and went through 9 years without a 2nd.. well, I had 3 but they went to be with Jesus... meanwhile, every one around me was pregnant at the drop of a hat. When I finally conceived my miracle 9 years later, I just felt in my heart that this time would be different. This time would be the time that I finally was able to hold my miracle instead of sending them to heaven. God did answer my prayer and I did bring home a healthy baby to a loving 9 year old praying sister! Not in the way I desired 9 years ago but in his way and in his timing.

I am a faithful reader of your blog.
It is my prayer that this child inside of you brings you great joy and HOPE! Our God loves you and he wants the best for you.

Devon Rene said...

beautiful and just what i needed today.

god gave us a little bit of hope yesterday, just enough to keep us looking forward; looking at Him.

thank you for your words. they have blessed me today.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I needed that word...HOPE!!

Jennifer J said...

Your post provided such encouragement to me in midst of letting go of a dream...trying to believe that God has something better.

Thank you.

mom22girls said...

Thank you as always for putting things in perspective. Your words and thoughts have really ministered to me tonight especially as my family is in the middle of a crisis. Yes, there is hope! Fear is so easy to hang onto at times. Thank you.

Sandys2girls said...

huyy0j

Sandys2girls said...

hey

Sandys2girls said...

Hope, what a perfect name for this new blessing to your family!!

Amy Cooper said...

Boothe, thank you for this. I have been reading your blog for a few months, but have not commented. I have been recently going through some pretty fearful things (MIL with stage 4 cancer, pretty large financial things, trying for baby #2). Fear IS comfortable, you're right, because it is easier to cry to people about your fears than to stand in your hope. God has been teaching me lately in big letters "WAIT". All of the above things are out of my control...I must wait on Him. Thought I knew what that meant until I actually had to do it.
I forwarded your blog onto a friend who is on bedrest with her pregnancy right now...leaking fluid at 18 weeks. Her most recent post was on hope, so I thought she could relate to you. Thank you for being relatable.
Funny enough, I was sent your blog randomly by a friend who thought it might help us in our church work, and two months later, a couple started coming to our church who had lost a baby from Trisomy-18. I had never heard of it before your blog, but I knew just where to send her! God is good...

Emily said...

Thank you, Boothe. Just what I needed to hear....

My firstborn daughter's name is Hope. It's a great name.... :)

Carrie said...

Amen!

Shellie Salza said...

Beautiful!

Sun said...

OH MY WORD. This spoke to my heart. There is something I have been holding onto for dear life - just "knowing" it was the best - wow - what you said at the end of the post - I felt like God spoke through you to me. In the past week there have been so many blog posts in which I KNOW God used the talents and hearts of the women writing to speak and touch so many! Before I even read this post I was commenting on my blog about this one and Bring the Rain and how both of your hearts explode with God. I want to thank you for this post -
I have never been through what you have - but am experiencing loss of a few key relationships that are like a ripping effect. It has been over the course of a few years - but has once again pushed itself to the forefront of my life in the past few days. Your words showed me that I need to stop trying the reverse psychology on God :) and instead pray with an open hand. I am going to pray for hope.
Sunshine

Anonymous said...

As always, another amazing post!

I've been out of town for a few weeks and was pleased to find that everything is going well with this pregnancy. We continue to pray for your family.

~Carly

Anonymous said...

i was just reading Job last night.
what a picture of hope and faith.
thank you boothe. blessings & love.

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
I am a friend of Shelli Allen's and have followed your blog for a while now. Thank you for sharing what God is doing in your life. You are a wonderful writer and an inspiration to many. Praying for a healthy baby girl for you!
Allison
Marietta, GA

Jen said...

I had never thought of hope in this way before. Thank you, Boothe, for once again stretching my view of things in such a profound way.

May you have it in abundance.

Hollie said...

i've been following your blog for a while now. Thanks for posting this!

brandi (angie's friend) said...

That was really beautiful. You are a gifted writer. Thank you for those words today.

Debbie said...

Hope is all we have sometimes. Thanks for your thoughts and example.

Praying for us all.

sarah said...

i just found your site through angie smith's site. thanks for sharing. your words really touched me in a real way. i will be praying for your pregnancy.

Paige said...

I enjoy reading your blogs so much, and I hope you don't mind but I added you to my list on my page. Your most recent blog reminded me of a song that has been weighing on my heart this past week. It's called Brave by Nichole Nordeman (if you haven't heard it, it's on my playlist on my blog if you want to hear it). It's all about letting go of fear and letting God be in control. That song has spoken to me this week, and it fits so well with your blog post about hope and fear. Thank you for your inspiring blogs!!!

The Acker Family said...

Thank you for your words, encouragement, and hope. You don't know me but I have been reading your posts for a while and am very very pleased for your good news. You have touched my heart in many many ways and I say thank you because you may not know how much you touch someone just by the words you say even if it isnt directly to them. I thought I would just let you know. Thank you.

redeemedintohope said...

thank you. you will never know how relevant this was for today. much much love sister.

Terry said...

Dear Boothe,
I am greatful you wrote this, I needed this today, in my work that I am surrounded by, I need the hope that God offers.
Hope is what I need in my life. Thank-you

AUbecca said...

Boothe, I was introduced to your blog through one of our fellow AU alums and it never ceases to amaze me how God uses your words and thoughts to encourage me. When I first began reading your blog, my husband and I had recently miscarried our first child. Now, I am the very happy mother of a beautiful daughter (10 weeks old). Your blog encouraged me during the time we were trying to conceive and it lifted me up throughout my pregnancy.
On June 23, 2008, I came back to work to a job in which I am very unhappy. I have been searching for something else for a long time with no luck. Your words were the first thing I saw as I signed on to my computer that morning and to say that they spoke directly to my heart is an understatement. Thank you for your honesty, your thoughts, and your constant encouragement. I pray blessings for you as you continue this journey.

Krystal said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful post! It is just what I needed today :)

This reminds me of something else that I read about hope recently that stuck with me. Hope in God is "A confident expectation and desire for something good in the future". Once I read that, it brought a whole new meaning for me and each time that I say or write "I hope for . . .", I know that I am not just wishing, but instead, I am expecting good things from God :)

Here is where I read it --
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1986/537_What_Is_Hope/

I'm going to link to your post on my blog b/c I know several people who would really love it! I *hope* that you don't mind :)

julie said...

Hi Boothe,
My namme is Julie Lollis, and I share a common bond with you. I had a little girl on October 1st 2007 named Rabecca who was born with T18 I was blessed to have her for 67 days. She pased away in my arms on December 6, 2007. I have read your blog over the past few weeks and I commend you for keeping it together so well. I have fallen apart as the full circle is beginning to come around. She would be 9 months old today and I grieve as much today as I did 7 months ago when Jesus took her from my arms into his. I would like to communicate with you if you are up for it. It would be nice to have someone to talk to that understands what I have been through. You also gave me the courage to start a blog about my experiences. I am trying to start at the beginning and work my way till now. If you would like to read a bit of it the address is sweetangelbecca.blogspot.com Thank you for takig the time to listen to me. Julie

Ashlee Tomes said...

Boothe,
I thirst for God's words through you...literally. Your post is so fitting to my situation right now. I just found out I am pregnant again after losing my precious little girl, London, in September from HLHS. I strive to have hope, faith, assurance that this baby will be whole, complete and healthy. Satan is so good, though! How often I get overwhelmed with fear that I will be doomed once again! Thank you for the reminder to let God give me hope. I am encouraged by your words once again. God bless you!

Ashlee

Anonymous said...

I think with this post you may have found your third daughter's name..."Hope."

Many blessings and I'm praying for you and your family.

Ginny said...

You are such a fabulous writer, Boothe. What you wrote really touched me when I read it this morning. I am keeping you and the little one in my prayers! Love, Ginny

Marie Lanathoua said...

Happy Birthday Copeland! One year ago your legacy has touched us .....Forever! say hi to Jesus for me!