On Which Shelf Have You Put Your Hope?

On Which Shelf Have You Put Your Hope?

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As I sit here about to type my post, I wonder how to capture the journey I have been on with the Lord the last several months… Maybe you’ve watched via Facebook or Instagram as friends have taken a road-trip out west or traveled to some glorious destination overseas. They chronicle the beauty, the adventure, and they help draw you in to their journey. In some ways, that is what I would love to do today–bring you along on my journey with God and what He has been teaching me. But I know I cannot capture it here in this short blog-post, so I will try to pick one thing to focus on. I have been schooled on prayer, faith, hope, contentment, and so much more in this season of my life. But above all, the thing for me that holds it all together is HOPE.

Hope is a fragile thing, isn’t it? When we have hope about something–whether about life in general, a new job, a relationship–life has color, purpose, meaning. But when that hope evaporates…WHAM! We wake up each morning with a sense of “What is this all for? What purpose does this day even hold?” Hope can be fragile. Our lives hang on the hook of hope.

Well, friends, I personally don’t want to live without hope. And most of the time, by the grace of God, there is a measure of hope for many things in my life. But the last several months, I could sense hope evaporating. I kept looking around at the landscape of life…where God has placed us, the situations in people’s lives around us, the situations in my own family, and I was losing hope that life could ever change for the better. The people around me seemed to all be losing hope too. I was longing for heaven, and starting to despise the “here and now.” Not a great trajectory for life.

Then one night, as I was phone-counseling my young-adult daughter who now lives 3 states away, I said something that was as much for me as for her. “Honey, you need to put your hope on the God shelf,” I said. “You keep placing your hope on other shelves…the relationship shelf, the success shelf, the friendship shelf. But none of those shelves can hold the weight of your hope. They will break. They will collapse,” I urged her. “Only God can hold the weight of all of your hope.”

Now, I know God does not have a “shelf” per se, but in our hearts, in our minds, we do have places we put things…like shelves. We will crush and break those places or people when we load all of our hope onto them. Only God himself is strong enough to hold a person’s hope for life. In truth, not only does God hold our hope, God IS our only true hope. Nothing we could ever hope for will satisfy our deepest longings like He himself can.

My hope had been evaporating for months, in large part because I had placed my hope on other shelves and those shelves were breaking. I could tell others that they had misplaced their hope, but discerning that for myself was much harder.  Scripture is so faithful to teach us the truths we need in life, but we often don’t apprehend them well until we experience something that drives us to the very heart of the truth we need.

Oh Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” Ps. 131:3

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Rom. 15:13

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.  This inheritance is kept in heaven for you”  I Pet. 1:3-6

God has been faithful to redirect me to the right “place” to put my hope…in Him alone.  The people and circumstances of life may not change according to our wishes (though we can pray!.. that is another blog post!) but the God of all hope also does not change, and that is a glorious thought.  He can and must be the One to bear the weight of our hope–for this life and for the one to come.

Kristin Bunting About Kristin Bunting

Kristin wishes you could pull up a chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, and talk with her about how amazing Jesus is. For 33 years she has walked with her Savior, and each year is a new adventure in learning how He is always "Enough" for her, no matter what the circumstance. Kristin is wife to one loving small-church pastor, and never ceases to be amazed at the 3 daughters God has given them to raise. Her one-day dream is to write a book for women, chronicling her walk with Jesus and encouraging them to never quit pursuing the God who loves them.

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