This is the fourth post in the series A January of Unwrapping Hope.
Change my heart oh God,
Make it ever true.
Change my heart oh God,
May I be like You.
You are the potter,
I am the clay,
Mold me and make me,
This is what I pray.
If I’m honest, I easily fall into expecting the worst and when it happens, I’ll be the first to say: “See, I told you so.” But in expecting the worst, I also scrunch my eyes closed, refusing to admit the sun’s rays. I often do the same with people, but then rather than the worst, I expect the world from them and so when they inevitably disappoint me, I’ll scrunch my eyes even more tightly shut. The saying that expectation kills carries some truth, but not the whole truth.
You see, Hope, is also an expectation. It is the expectation of faith in the absolute and eternal goodness of God. It says: “Whatever the circumstance, I am confident in the Victory of Our Lord, in His Kingdom Come, in His Will be done.” And yet, our sinful human hearts are prone to fall into the trap of human expectations, where we replace confidence in the Lord with confidence in “pleasant” circumstances (or people!). Our expectations can, like my aforementioned ones, cause us to scrunch our eyes tight against the rays of sun our God is shining upon us, precisely in the midst of “unpleasant” circumstances.
As I ran in the forest this morning, I thought of the verse that calls us to lay our burdens at His feet and it made me realize that my biggest burdens are my human expectations.
Psalm 55: 22 (ESV)
Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.
This year, I want to actively choose to lay each human expectation at His feet. I want to behold His face and in doing so have my eyes opened and my mind and heart filled with the far greater, wider and deeper expectation of eternal Hope. I want to sit in “unpleasant” circumstances, expectantly waiting upon His goodness to guide me through the storms. I want to open my scrunched shut eyes to His Presence, even facing the most trying or excruciating of circumstances.
Father God, open my scrunched up eyes to the rays of Your glorious goodness in and right before me.
Luke 11: 33 – 36
Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.
When I feel disappointments, bitterness and frustrations rise within me, let me be empowered to capture them in Your Name and release them at Your feet. And as I choose to lay these burdens of human expectation at Your feet, Lord, circumcise my heart to Your eternal Hope.
Colossians 2: 7 (NLT)
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Let me behold Your Presence in and all around me, no matter my earthly circumstance, as I meditate on Your Word and You root me more deeply into these pure and enlightening precepts of Truth and glorious Hope. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.
Psalm 19 (ESV)
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they thangold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent fromhidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.