Hope Made Alive
A Hope for the Helpers Blog
By Rosanne Moore
Hope Made Alive
From the echoing joy and expansive love of the Triune God, man and woman were crafted to reflect together the community of perfect companionship and partnered purpose, swept into the divine dance of mutual giving. Fashioned to incarnate – express in human flesh – His likeness, every experience they’d shared was shot through with the glory of the Maker their lives revealed.
Hope – anticipation of more truth, beauty, justice, and goodness ahead – was the very air they breathed. Why wouldn’t it be so? Perfection and relational connection were the totality of their experience.
Until it all changed.
Deception. Rebellion and betrayal.
Abandonment and rejection. Isolation and dismissal.
Heartache and physical anguish. Violation and cruel brutality.
Incarnation of God’s relational glory was shattered, taunting all of our groaning creation with glimmers of what should have been. Burdening us with what is now beyond the reach of our human efforts.
And here in the rubble we struggle.
- The child we welcomed with joy is lost to us.
- An ever-latent ache instead of warm connection dogs our interactions with a parent or sibling.
- Friendships are fractured by insecurity, competition, and resentment.
- The love story turns to heartache.
- Disease runs rampant where health was once enjoyed.
- War stuns, decimates, uproots life as we had known it.
- Marginalization silences and dismisses.
- Poverty haunts.
The failed dream we’d been so sure we’d achieve, the ideal job that became a nightmare, the violent crime we think only happens to others – suddenly loss and even tragedy hit home. Our home. Or maybe we simply wake up to the darkness of accumulating disappointments that has been encroaching for years, making life small and empty.
In light of the new norm of our lived experiences, hope can seem an elusive and costly thing, a risk not worth taking. A heartbreak waiting to happen. Mere wishful thinking typically dances with denial. Hope misplaced is devastation waiting to unfold.
The Invitation of Hope
Moses spent forty years in the desert, on the run for his own crimes, and the people of Israel lived over 400 years exiled in Egypt and enslaved. That’s a long time for disappointed hope to fester.
In Exodus 3:14, we’re told that God re-introduced Himself to His people as “I AM THAT I AM.” Their lived experience of suffering and Heaven’s apparent silence were about to be replaced with seeing God’s power unleashed and His presence dwell with them, leading them to freedom.
As He gave Moses the parameters in Exodus 34 for what relating to Him would involve, He further explained what being “I AM” meant in relationship:
“The Lord — the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.” [Exodus 34:6-7]
God reiterates this self-description multiple times throughout Scripture. [Num. 14:18, Neh. 9:17, Ps. 86:15, Ps. 103:8, Ps. 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2] Clearly, He wants us to correct our distortions about His nature.
- His love for us is tender, compassionate. His heart is moved by our suffering.
- We don’t earn His kindness. His generosity is not based on our efforts.
- He’s not looking for ways to be ticked off by us. He knows both our human limitations and deliberate rebellion. He’s patient both in tending us in our frailty and also in giving us opportunity to face and turn away from the destruction we wield.
- His commitment to us is rooted both in His own faithful character and He knows the truth of who we are. We aren’t tricking Him into loving us – He knows our light and our darkness, the ways we reflect what He intended in our creation and the ways we live in violation of it.
- God generously multiplies forgiveness, affection, and welcome to us and those whose lives we touch. He calls us to take ownership of our choices, for good or evil, realizing our engagement with Him matters.
- The LORD is just. He doesn’t minimize evil or magically erase its consequences. He enters it, redeems it, but He takes it seriously. He recognizes far more clearly than we do the long-range impacts sin has on our lives and on those around us. But neither does He allow those harsh ripple effects to go on unchecked forever. While He exponentially blesses what is good, and patiently offers time and opportunity for repentance, He doesn’t allow it to run rampant. Evil, in us or in others, doesn’t get the final say.
If this is the character of the One on whom we wait, the One who came to live among us – and now within us, then what changes as we face a still-broken world?
The Embodiment of Hope
Hope becomes an invitation to return face to face with the One Community in whom and for whom we were created. God Himself has entered human flesh and taken on our evil and pain. Anchored in the life Jesus shares with us, hope helps fuel a quiet transforming of what was lost and destroyed. [Hebrews 6:13-20]
Instead of being as natural as breathing, now genuine hope has become an intentional practice of courage and faith, a choice to remember and return to Who God is and how He interacts with us. Jesus entered our world as a baby and lived as a man encountering all of the struggles of being human in a world marred by sin. We celebrate His revelation of the love of the Father through His sinless life and death on our behalf, making way for our resurrected life to again display God’s glory.
Hope tells us that because of Jesus coming as one of us and giving us His life, we still have the opportunity to reflect the truth, beauty, justice, and goodness of life shared with God and His people as we relate to the world He’s created, even in the midst of all that is broken and, as yet, still waiting to be renewed.
And this is our calling and our encouragement as we face the unresolved pieces of our own lives. As we wait for justice, for restoration, for safe communities where what we offer is received in peace instead of consumed by fear, we hope for the day when all is made, at last, as it should be.