“Hey, Mom,” Caleb announced. “I’m done!”
“You are? So fast?” I replied.
“Yep!” Caleb beamed.
For the past year, Caleb and Jake have been learning keyboarding. They have enjoyed developing this important skill. Today’s keyboarding exercise asked Caleb and Jake to type a number of sentences in rapid succession. Since Caleb and Jake share a computer, it was Caleb’s turn to go first. He zipped through the exercise with confidence and ease. When he finished, he sought me out for a bit of praise.
“Caleb,” I affirmed. “You have become an amazing keyboarder!”
Caleb smiled with appreciation.
It feels good to be noticed, doesn’t it?
How do I know? Because after Jake completed his keyboarding work, he, too, bounded into our Happy Blue School classroom and said, “I did it, Mom!”
“What?” I answered. “You’re already finished, too?”
“Mom, you knew I could do it!” Jake continued. “I typed all of the sentences and did the last one five times!”
“Jake, that’s fantastic! Way to go!” I cheered.
My two homeschoolers revel in my attention and praise. By the way, did you catch what Jake said? He claimed that I knew he could accomplish the keyboarding exercise. My son acknowledged that I believed in him. Jake knows he has my support and my assurance. It means a lot to have the confidence of someone with whom you love, appreciate and value.
Over time, Caleb and Jake’s keyboarding skills have developed and improved with consistent practice. That consistency contributed to their growing confidence in keyboarding. As a result, these two are well on their way to complete mastery! I’m proud of them.
Friends, this short vignette of our Happy Blue School life offers a key lesson about hope.
Hope is found and enhanced with consistency.
This is the secret of hope in the Christian life!
An abiding hope provides the foundation for remaining faithful, obedient, confident and in love with our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.
Hope does not garner its strength in a person doing this or that, though. Hope is all about remaining firm, staying with, holding fast, and standing in resolute trust in the love and grace of Jesus. And hope holds fast knowing that even if no one else on earth is paying attention, hope is confident that God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, is faithfully keeping watch. Just like Caleb and Jake know they have their mom’s support and assurance, we can know that we have the support and assurance of our God as well!
God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show the same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.
New International Version, 6: 10 – 11
Just as I pay attention and offer affirmation to my children in their Happy Blue School work, our God does the same for us in our lives.
Often times, though, we seek the affirmation of others, first. In this crazy see-what-I’m-doing-now-please-notice-and-affirm-me Facebook and Instagram world, we desire the attention of friends and family before even considering that our God has already taken notice. The unfortunate reality is that we often fail to achieve the attention we crave. Instead, we experience the rejection, disinterest, shame, condemnation or neglect of others regardless of what we say, do, or even, post.
People just fail to notice what we most want them to see – and that’s us.
In all honesty, they pay more attention to themselves, their interests and activities than they do to anything else. If we are not content with who we are or do not find our identity and purpose in Christ, we are left wanting in this me-myself-and-I millennium.
How can we be content with who we are and what we do – even when no one is looking?
The exhortation to the Hebrews offers key insights on how to be released from the have-you-seen-what-I’ve-done-lately merry-go-round of disillusion.
We are asked to set our sights upon the needs of others – not ourselves.
Second, we are encouraged to look to our God and praise and give glory to Him for what we are able to do on this needs-filled earth.
There are so many acts of kindness that we can commit to:
Help the ailing
Encourage the distraught
Strengthen the weak
Care for the broken
Bless the poor
Cheer the forgotten
Comfort the bereaved
Pray for the hopeless
Inspire the disheartened
Love the lonely
No one on earth may notice what we do in the quiet and lonely spaces of need. Yet, our God will. Such acts of faithfulness and care demonstrate our love and devotion to Him. And in so doing, day in and day out, this consistency of relationship leads to a growing hope and assurance that God is with us.
Friends, caring for others above ourselves goes against our self-centered human nature. We covet attention, affirmation and praise for what we do and for who we are. This may even be a God-given desire. If so, then it is a desire that only He can fully meet and satisfy.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
New American Standard, Colossians 3: 23-24
Friends, I shared that Caleb and Jake beamed because of my attention and praise. It feels good to be noticed and affirmed for who we are and for what we do. Yet, if we set our sights on only receiving the praise of man (or mom), we will be disappointed. No one can fully satisfy or meet us in the deep places of our needful heart – except God alone.
Do you believe that?
Does your speech, your work, and even your Facebook and Instagram posting indicate this hope and assurance?
Do you believe that God sees you?
Do you trust that He is paying attention to your situation?
Do you count upon His Presence?
Do you know that you are not forgotten nor neglected by Him?
Do you believe that God knows you and loves you?
I believe He does.
I trust Him.
It is my prayer that your hope and assurance in Jesus Christ grows, deepens, and strengthens as you trust Him and seek Him too. God’s care and affirmation of you is so much more than how many ‘likes’ you receive on Facebook.
God loves you.
He really, really loves you!
He offers you a consistent, affirming and strengthening hope in Him.
Will you take hold of such a hope-filled vision as you live your life today?
You have His assurance and support!
You can count on that!