Today's guest is Juan Lopez. I met Juan online through a chat with mutual friends. His writing has encouraged me and also made me really re-think how I see the church. He has an essay featured in "Father Factor: American Christian Men on Fatherhood and Faith". Take a moment to check out what they are about at www.fatherfactorbook.com.
It sounds easy enough. Just believe and you will have hope. Flip the switch and let there be light. If God feels far away it's because you moved. Somehow, this is all your fault. These are the things we tell each other. This is how we attempt to encourage each other.
At the expense of others.
At one point in my walk with Christ, I had a clear understanding of what needed to happen. I had a vision. It's written on a sheet of paper in my wallet. It's wrinkled and yellowed. At some point, I spilled some water on my wallet and some of the ink smeared. But I still have it.
It's kinda silly really...
A ten point list of things God (wants?) wanted to do in my life. Each one fell apart little by little. Not because of doubt, but in the slow way that reality seeps into our boat of faith. We try our hardest to keep the stupid thing afloat but it wasn't built to handle these ocean waves. It gets so bad that you start to see things in the ocean. Was that a ghost floating in the water?
There's something that few people are willing to tell you about hope. Perhaps because they are lying or maybe because they don't dare venture into such a deep ocean. It's that when God fills you with hope, all things become uncertain. Everything can go wrong and everything can go right. All at the same time. AT some point, the definition of faith became Certainty. If you believe, you will not waver. You will not question.
This is a lie.
Just look at Romans 15:13 and the words used to describe what God does when we trust in him. Fill with hope. Overflow with hope. Not the best words to use when you're trying to keep your ship afloat. Hope sinks our trust in anything that isn't God. Everything that we are certain of will sink with the weight of hope. Our biblical interpretations. Our style of prayer. Our devotional time. Our Christian leaders. All the things that we do or place our trust on in order to keep afloat. All the things that we do to please God.
If I do this, will you bless me?
When you become filled with hope, you don't need to play those games. Being blessed is meaningless when you're underwater in a river of Grace. All you can do is surrender. You learn to let life happen to you. This is the hardest thing to do. To let go of the wish list. Isn't that why we came to God in the first place? There was something we wanted. Only we didn't know what we truly wanted. But God lets us bring our wish lists anyway. Somewhere along this walk, we get thirsty. If you're there my advice would be:
Drink. There's plenty of water.
The God of hope wants to fill us with it. So that we will overflow and share it with others. Keep your eyes open. There are people dying in this desert of First World Problems.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.