“With the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which [God] has called you.” -Eph. 1:18
Last night during a time of prayer and silence I got to thinking about hope.
In the prayer printed above, the writer of Ephesians prays that the eyes of our heart be enlightened in order that we be given the insight to lead a life of hope. A few chapters later, the same writer prays for “strength of inner being” (3:14-21). The Bible tells us that hope is not a desperate, flighty emotion, but a way of life that requires a steely resilience, and a willingness to receive God’s visions, no matter how outlandish.
Over the past few years, I have had the blessing of working alongside another pastor who has that kind of great vision. I believe that vision is the mark of sanctification, of God’s investment in a life of humility and wisdom. My practical side often wanted to caution my colleague’s visions, but that kind of hope with strength of inner being is not irresponsible, but instead takes all the right risks for the glory of someone other than oneself.
What is difficult about the hope to which God has called us is that–the transforming act of the Spirit, and these visions with which God blesses us do not come to fruition on our time. And while living a life of hope is the essence of who we are, and that is spiritual beings, it is not natural or commonplace, and takes both fearlessness and commitment. For me it is the greatest challenge, to live convicted by the call God has on my life, and to simultaneously live knowing that life is not my own.
During Centering Prayer, we try to filter the distractions of the day and the many tasks that flood our mind. I tend to let the images rest there beside me, never knowing what God has in store.
Last night this image came to me, and I wrote it down:
this is what hope looks like
I gather up visions like wildflowers in armfulls under a greying sky
I drink them into the strength of my inner being and with steely, earthy hope,
I welcome the storm.
What does hope look like to you? From where does your hope come from? What do you hope for?