Called to Hope
I pray that the God of glory may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which God has called you. – Ephesians 1:17-18a (NRSV, abridged)
Hope is a wild creature. Untamable. Wholly within the mysteries of God.
Hope is an alien to our daily, bodily existence. Whereas I wake up each morning and roll out of bed with the same body I had the night before, with the same aches and illnesses of the prior day, the same set of stresses, the same routines and essential tasks, the same challenges to navigate, and the same resigned face staring back at me from the mirror, hope has no care for the sameness of life or body or situation. Hope says something else is possible. “These are your bones and sinews and cells? Great, we’re going to do something new! This is the day you envision for yourself? Let’s interrupt all that with new thoughts and dreams!”
I commonly try to tame hope. I limit it to my location, I box it into my past experiences, I quell it with reason. When I’m not careful, I contort it with my theology, confining it to heaven or lowballing it to just-barely-above-hell. I make a disaster of hope when I add it to my “should” list: “I should do better, I should finance my children’s dreams, I should write twenty books, I should have plans in place to achieve my hopes.”
But hope with a plan isn’t hope. It’s a plan … and that’s lovely, but it’s self-made and assumes the self I already have in the space it already occupies and the life it already knows.
Hope—the hope to which God calls us—comes from an alien space, a wild space, a holy space. And from that space, hope offers possibilities we cannot devise ourselves.
Only God can.
For all that I cannot do or be, God have mercy. Let hope overtake me.