I'm almost done with my fifth year of "higher" education. I'm somehow still up to my eyeballs in work to finish, but it'll all be over soon.
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
The LORD looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
What's hope?Etymology is no help here.
I know the "God frustrates your plans" bit. I know that all too well.
also, the false hope of the "war horse." So I know what hope isn't.
What is it, though?
What is it to have my heart "fashioned" by God?
Maybe St Paul has something...
When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, "I promise that I'll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!" Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they'll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can't break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.
We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 6:13-20 (Trans. Peterson, 2002)
OK, that's something.
Hope is a lifeline, but not just any lifeline: hope is the word of the creator of Heaven and Earth. Not the plans of an architect, not the suggestion of a consultant; no, this is the. word.
The First Cause. The unmoved mover. The force of creative power which can call something into being.
When he says something, you'd better believe it's going to happen.
So that's hope.
God's given his word,
And I can trust him.
Why does that still feel so empty right now?