Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Audacity of Hope-lessness

Audacity— n 1. recklessly bold or daring; fearless 2. impudent or presumptuous

I like the word audacity. It’s one of those brutal words. When applied to other people’s behavior, just saying it makes you feel a little outraged. Try it sometime. After you hear something that someone has done that you wouldn’t have done, add “The audacity”. It is linguistic outrage; pure complainers bliss.

Anyway, I have recently encountered a lot of people that will make statements like, “this church will never get it” or “my life is going nowhere”. Maybe you’ve heard yourself say this one: “things will never be as good as they were in Mexico or Ecuador or Scotland or…”. I think we all have had these types of thoughts. It occurred to me recently that when I say this I mean it to be a declaration of my helplessness to do anything about it, but that is really not what I’m saying. What I’m really saying is this, “In my superior wisdom, that comes from all my combined experiences and perceptions, and with my ability to know all things about the future, I declare that ___________________ will never improve. Therefore I am hopeless about it and will stop trying, praying or believing.” When you really think about it, that is truly audacious. It is the audacity of hopelessness.

The thing I believe we often miss when reading the stories of our spiritual ancestors, like Moses or Deborah, is that they were constantly led into situations that seemed hopeless. We, of course, often have God’s bird’s eye view so we don’t perceive it in this way, but from their vantage point it was hopeless. The problem with hopelessness is that once you declare something you stop hoping. I know that is obvious, but hope is the God-given promise that whatever it is that you are focusing on will improve. By declaring hopelessness you dis-invite God from using you to affect that situation. God will still do what He wants, but you cut yourself out of the loop and therefore miss out on the blessing. This is not to say that you have to stay in every bad situation. God sometimes uses bad situations to move us in new directions, but we still need to have hope towards that situation.

Our goal, despite any frustrations we have or circumstances we may find ourselves in, is to anchor ourselves in God’s hope. My prayer for all of us is this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

- Jason Thornton

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