It’s Micah’s birthday, today! So, in our family, today is a special, special, special day!
I’ve already baked the yummy cinnamon rolls Micah requested for his birthday breakfast. Later today, I’ll be making a pumpkin pie – his requested birthday dessert this year.
Thankfully, the cinnamon rolls turned out to be scrumptious!
I’m hoping for the same result with the pumpkin pie.
I bet you hope for the same when you are making something yummy or creating something special for someone you love to the moon and beyond.
We all have hopes for the different and amazing people in our lives. We all have hopes for the places we will visit. And we all have hopes of this, that, or the other thing during the various seasons of our lives.
We all have life hopes.
Many of us seek to attend university and earn an educational degree.
Many of us yearn to be married to someone who loves us back – unconditionally.
Many of us desire a happy, healthy family.
I believe everyone wants to be healthy– physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Others of us seek a home that is all our own – no matter the size or amount of space.
Many of us spend significant time developing a successful career.
And then there are the life hopes that go beyond physical matter.
We want to be happy.
We want our children to be happy.
We strive to be content and at peace with ourselves and our world.
We desire to have an admirable and trustworthy reputation.
I believe we all want to enjoy a long, long, long life.
And honestly, I think we all want, what we want, when we want it.
Is that true of you?
It is of me.
I read through this list of life hopes and think, yes. That’s me.
If you have been reading along in InsteadBless the past few weeks, you’ll know that I am avidly involved in a hope word study in my bible. I’ve reached the book of Job, the first poetic book of the Old Testament. In chapter after chapter, Job and his friends have discussed both the hope which is sure in God and the hopelessness Job feels because of the horrific set of tragedies that have befallen him.
Job asked his friends and His God:
If the only home I hope for is the grave,
if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness,
if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’
and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’
where then is my hope—
who can see any hope for me? (New International Version, Job 17:13-15)
What Job is saying here is that every one of his life hopes has been extinguished – except one.
He longs for the grave – for in death – this is when he shall see His God.
For Job, there is no other hope. He believes that his life hopes will never return to him. Instead, he seeks an eternal hope.
What are eternal hopes?
Well, they are far more than the sight, taste, and smell of a home-made pumpkin pie.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe there is eternal hope instilled in us through faith in God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. Our eternal hopes seek to bring honor and glory to the Kingdom of God. Our worship, our praise, our time in prayer bring us into the Presence of a Holy God and in turn, we are given an eternal hope that is secure.
Eternal hopes cannot be seen, cannot be touched, cannot be heard, cannot be tasted or even smelled.
You see, hopes that are seen and touched are not eternal hopes.
Paul says it this way:
But hope that is seen is no hope at all…. (New International Version, Romans 8:24)
Job understood that.
His word choice of hope is once again based upon the Hebrew transliterated word, tiqvah. Tiqvah is a cord, ground of hope, and expectation. Or as I have come to call it an invisible cord of hope that binds us to our Heavenly Father. Any other kind of hope – whether it be family, career, reputation, longevity of life, world peace, or pumpkin pie – none of these cords of hope rise from eternal stock.
Once again, we understand from Job’s words that the eternal cord of hope is one that is invisible and is the surest cord of all.
The cord of hope theme continues to roll out, stretch, and expand through Job’s story – despite the deep sorrow and unimaginable suffering this honorable man has experienced. He continues to hold his invisible cord of hope and trust in the loving sovereignty of his God.
As I continue to read through the book of Job, I see Job’s story as one of inspiration and caution.
I am inspired by the eternal hope in God that I observe in Job’s life.
I am cautioned to keep hold of that same sure hope – and not replace it with cords of hope that are solely tied to my self-centered wants and desires.
You may ask, “Wait a minute! What’s wrong with desiring a strong education, a loving spouse, a happy family, good health, or a reputable career?”
Nothing except if these hopes replace the longing and desire for Christ and eternity – and that’s the question we must ask ourselves with every hope that we seek.
Is it a real, eternal hope?
In 1834, Edward Mote, was walking along when he was inspired to compose a hymn that Job himself could have written:
On Christ, the Solid Rock, I Stand
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]
His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]
When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain]
Did you sing along?
That’s the kind of hope I seek – a living, vibrant hope that is unseen and eternal – not just a scrumptious slice of pumpkin pie.
How about you?