I have given it my best shot many times.
To absolutely no avail.
I am a failure when it comes to the care and nurture of house plants.
I’ve told my friends, my family, and even acquaintances to refrain from gifting me with any kind of chlorophyll-filled life form because it just won’t have a chance in my house. It’s a dead plant on arrival.
There is no hope for it.
These are the first thoughts I related to as I read words from the book of Job today:
Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
Can reeds thrive without water?
While still growing and uncut,
they wither more quickly than grass.
Yes, the papyrus reed wouldn’t stand a chance in my house. Their withering future is assured.
But then the words of Bildad took a decisive and serious turn and caused me to think of other matters as he exhorted his friend, Job:
Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
so perishes the hope of the godless.
What they trust in is fragile;
what they rely on is a spider’s web.
They lean on the web, but it gives way;
they cling to it, but it does not hold. New International Version, Job 8: 11-15
In this exchange, Bildad is providing a few vivid word pictures to inform his friend that hope is found in God alone. Anything else is folly – offering no lasting security. If you are following along in my hope study, I’ve discovered a significant meaning for the word hope in Hebrew. It is tiqvah. Tiqvah is a cord. It also means hope, expectation, outcome, and ground of hope.
Job feels as if his cord of hope has frayed. He feels cut off, abandoned and alone in his devastation.
Bildad suggests that Job may have taken hold of another cord of hope – one separate than the cord of hope which binds him and grounds him securely in his relationship with his God.
It’s a natural assumption. Not true in Job’s case, but it can happen.
You see we humans will tie ourselves to just about anything to help us feel safe and secure, productive and useful, bold and beautiful, smart and engaging, and right.
We will grasp at belief systems, diet plans, beauty products, financial plans, political views, quick fixes, relationships, self-help books, career paths, and even promises, dreams and desires and trust that whoever or whatever is at the other end of our cords of hope are holding fast.
And the more we clutch these particular cords, placing our trust in them, the more we have the potential of forgetting the assurance and care of our God. We fix our sights and securities elsewhere.
But, who is holding the other end of our cords of hope – especially when these cords are not bound to our Lord?
Bildad is correct when he says that trusting in anything other than our Lord and Savior offers only a fragile web of deceit. We think we have bound ourselves to something lasting and secure, but we have only fooled ourselves. Instead, we have a misplaced trust.
I’ve done that.
I’ve trusted people who betrayed me.
I’ve hoped for opportunities that slipped away.
I’ve waited in expectation for this, that, or the other thing, only to have them never appear.
And honestly, in some of those situations, I’ve felt the bitter disappointment of being dropped by those frayed, fragile, and fake cords.
They weren’t the real deal.
The cord of hope that is offered to us by the hand of God Himself is strong and secure. It is a lasting and sure. It will never perish.
Even though Job has felt like his cord of hope has been dropped, this wasn’t true. It’s just his feeling. What he didn’t acknowledge at this point was that he was grounded – standing strong, even in weakness – upon the sure hope and strength of his God. His God had not released Job’s cord of hope – his God still held fast.
Friends, why are we so quick to place our cords of hope in the fragile promises of man’s finite hand?
Bildad is correct.
We need to be wary of anything and anyone that will not hold us up.
Instead, we need to look to our Heavenly Father who is able to be our lasting security and trust that he holds our cord of hope!
Here is a beautiful promise from our God:
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. New International Version, Psalm 139: 9-10
Yes, Bildad’s words of caution ring strong and true today in a fast-paced world of misinformation and misplaced trust.
Be prudent, Friends.
Where are you placing your cord of hope?