Journal Ps 33 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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.
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Ps 33:18-22
Observation: “I have my confidence in God” vs. “I have my hope in God.” Are these two statements different? Stating different mindsets and/or convictions?
Analysis: I have been noticing the word “hope” in the scriptures lately.
I have also noticed that Christians don’t use the word “hope” in their conversations (I say this only generally). If I think about it, does “hope” fall into that bucket that “chance” and “luck” are found in? I mean, look, what if I do some word substitutions in the scriptures?
I am taking this scripture as an example: “…having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the HOPE of salvation.” (1 Thes 5:8) I wonder if the current Christian community would shy away from saying “Hope of salvation” in favor of “my ASSURANCE (like it was a FACT) of salvation?” People certainly wouldn’t say “my CHANCE of salvation” or some variation of “if I am lucky, I will be given salvation.”
But scripture certainly references “Jesus, my HOPE of glory” or “my HOPE of salvation” or “I place my HOPE only in You, O God.” Or, related to faith: “Faith, the assurance of things HOPED for (hope being the verb in this sentence). Why don’t I embrace this word more?
Maybe because I am so adamant in avoiding anything that sounds like “works” instead of “grace?” Perhaps if I considered that “works” (not just the James works, reference James 1:22-27 “…be doers of the Word…”) but the “works” that I am to pursue to the End, like,
- Knowing Him (2 Cor 5:11) and to be Known by Him (Matt 7:21-23)
- Practice and immerse myself in the teaching (so that my progress in the teachings is clearly seen by others (1 Tim 4:15)
In the acronym, TULIP, the “P” is ‘Persevering to the END.’ Considering other scriptures that clearly say to virulently pursue God, the picture is not “treading water in one place” or “holding my breath” for the rest of my life, or even a single sentence “I believe I am saved” and not going any further.
Why did I go through all of this? The journaling adventure is to place thoughts like this on a piece of paper to joggle your mind; make a person think, wonder, and lead them into other parts of the Bible to see what the Holy Spirit would say; to let my eyes drift up to the ceiling and say, “Why did you say that? Why did you describe it that way? What does that mean?”
If we are not wondering about our God of Wonder, then we are not thinking about Him and what He says either.
Prayer: Lord God, it is so difficult to listen to the Whisper in my soul. It is hard to cultivate being that attentive. “Pray unceasingly” reads like an impossibility.
It is a worthy pursuit and reaps riches unimaginable; just takes persistence knowing and having the hope of my conviction that you are the God of the Impossible. After all, you have redeemed a rotten scoundrel like me. Now I have assured hope where there wasn’t any chance of hope.
Ricky Two Shoes