I’ve been watching as many of my believing friends and family are having to lose something that they had put a lot of hope in. In a couple of cases, it was a dream (like being able to be a full-time mother). In another case, it was something fun (like being in a working band). In another, it was being able to pull off a very good musical performance.
In all of these cases, when the plan was thwarted, I found myself whispering in my heart something like “God, why can’t you just let them have it? What could it hurt?” Somewhere inside of me I was thinking that God was somehow being mean for not letting these folks have their little dreams, as though His desire to be the Hope of people was a jealousy that benefited himself and not my friends. Am I the only one that ever feels that way?
Well, I thought about this a bit and remembered a situation I experienced as a young parent of my crawling baby son. He had discovered an electric socket and was laser focused on sticking something in those mysterious holes he had found in the wall. Nothing I presented him with as an alternative satisfied him. He wanted to stick things in the electric socket, and he wanted me to leave him alone to let him do it.
For his own safety, this situation became a battle that I had to win. I’m sure that, from his perspective, I was a real tyrant, not letting him have so simple a thing. The real truth, however, was that he wanted something that would hurt him.
For every hope that we have in something ego-inflating or comforting, God offers us an alternative that is safer. He gives us Jesus. In every case, Jesus as our Hope is superior to whatever transient hope we choose to desire more. God’s jealousy to be our Hope is for our own protection, since He is the only Hope that can actually deliver.
- So, if He gave my one friend the big family she wanted, and she found her identity in her motherhood, what happens when her children fail?
- If He allows another friend to have the working band’s success, and she finds her security in the attention and money it generates, is that helping her?
- If He allows my family member to have that awesome performance, which leads to the big disappointment when the performance doesn’t matter, has He really helped her at all?
We all tend to chase after electric sockets. We just don’t see the danger. God knows, though, that we are putting our safety at risk every time we place our hope in something or someone that is not Christ, His Righteousness, and the Cross.