“Because God wanted to show His unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
Hope can be a heavy thing.
I don’t think I realized this truth until the current season of my life. Hope and I have had a changing relationship throughout the years.
When I was younger, I felt a lightness in hope. Hope can be filled with promise and joy. It’s the kind of hope you feel when you breathe in the beauty of a sunset. The sunset speaks of a deeper reality–the beauty of the King who made it. Hope of this type settles inside you with a spark of life and love. It says, “If you think THIS is beautiful, just wait until you meet its Creator face to face.” This kind of hope is peaceful, content, and gives you an appreciation for the beauty to be found on this mortal plain.
About a decade ago, when I was lamenting over my lack of a husband, hope took on a new significance. While I was learning Spanish, I came across a word with two meanings: esperar. Esperar is a verb that means both “to hope” and “to wait.” This was astounding to me! Hope meant waiting? I really didn’t want to wait anymore for a husband. But, the more I studied, I realized that when God spoke of hope in his word, it always meant waiting. In fact, just like in Spanish, the verb for “to wait” and “to hope” in Hebrew is the same word. Even in different Bible versions, the same phrase can be translated either “wait on the Lord” or “hope in the Lord.” To hope IS to wait. At that time, it was an encouragement to find my hope in the waiting time. “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” Romans 8:24
This was my first encounter with the heaviness of hope. I was able to grab on to Jesus for my hope in the waiting. Yet, it didn’t make the waiting easy; it made it bearable. The heavy truth is that hope means I am lacking the object of my hope. At that time, I lacked a husband, and my waiting time was not as long as I’d feared-only a couple years.
That for which I hope now, however, will be the longest wait yet. The object of my current hope will not find its fulfillment until my mortal life ends: I long to be reunited with my children who were taken too soon by miscarriage.
The despair of not having them in my arms now can be almost too much to bear. The image of SEIZING hope carries new meaning for me now. Hope does not fall passively into my lap; it must be taken hold of, intentionally. This is the only antidote for despair. I grab onto hope in defiance of despair. It is not easy; when I put on the anchor of hope, it is heavy. In some ways, despair is much easier.
Because hope means waiting, seizing hope means accepting the reality of waiting the rest of my mortal life to be reunited with my children. What grief that brings my mother’s heart.
I never knew hope could be so heavy.
Will the weight of this hope lessen, and someday be a lightness and a joy? I believe it will. My two-year-old daughter, Valerie, loves bug-watching. Her favorite bugs to watch are roly-polies. When we step outside in the mornings and dew still covers the grass, she can find several roly-polies to crouch by. When they scurry out of her sight, her response is always the same: “Hope I see another roly-poly!” This is her hope! What a precious example. I want to hope for those little sparks of joy that Valerie seeks after.
Child-like hope is something to strive for. I wait in hope even for that. But, for now, I will seize my heavy hope, trusting in my Savior to keep it safe and secure. I will wear the weight of it, hoping, WAITING, for the day all things will be put right.