There was a season in my life when my husband took a three-week trip every month for work. I would drop him off at the airport with a combination of smiles, hugs and kisses. The kids and I then rode home with high hopes that everything would be great until my husband returned.
I am pretty good at hoping, but not so good at waiting. As the date for my husband to return grew closer, I would get caught up in the joyful hope of his return. “What would I cook for his first dinner home?” “What would I wear to the airport?” “How would I keep the kids clean from the time they dressed in clean clothes until they saw their dad at the airport?”
But somewhere during his trip, day four or maybe day five- it would begin. The toilet broke, the washing machine died and the milk ran out AGAIN. (I tell you that toilet never broke when he was in town!) As the days and the troubles multiplied, my hope turned from a joyful thing to a desperate thing. “When is that husband coming HOME?” These desperate thoughts would whirl around the joyful thoughts, to make me a mess. Being hopeful and desperate is not a good time. My husband returned as scheduled, to a combination of clinging, exhaustion and kisses. (Always kisses.)
At the beginning, I could see the thing I was hoping for- having a great time until my husband returned. But as life began to happen, this became harder and harder to see. My Christian walk can be a lot like this, too. In times of struggle I raise my head high and proclaim, “Jesus will carry me through this difficulty!” I can see this with great clarity, and I am filled with joyful hope. Then stuff begins to happen: discouragement, worry, isolation, and fear, to name a few. Now don’t get me wrong. Jesus is STILL carrying me through the struggle; He’s just harder to see through all of the stuff. Now I need to call on my faith, not in what I can see, but in what is unseen.
Check out this verse again:
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25
When I read these verses, I want to change the ending. I want to change the word “patiently” to something more fun. Why can’t we wait for what is unseen “happily”, “ecstatically”, “gleefully” or “enthusiastically”? Wouldn’t that be nice? But true hope, the hope in the things that are hard to see, takes patience, endurance and perseverance.
Fortunately, the more you hunger to see Christ carrying you through your struggles, the bigger your patience, the longer your endurance and the stronger your perseverance. You have what it takes to have hope in what is unseen. How do I know? Because you have the love of Christ, the sweet, everlasting love of Christ.