On Monday, while our Chinese friends were visiting, my son, Daniel, said, “Can I see that toy?” to 9-year-old Hao Xuan whose English name is Hudson. Hudson proceeded to show Daniel the toy, not realizing that what Daniel really wanted was to be given the toy. Daniel didn’t want to just “see it.” He wanted to hold it.
I then explained to Hudson that the phrase “Can I see it?” actually means, “Can I have it for a little while?” Isn’t English so confusing sometimes?
The next day, I was rereading the July 7 entry from New Morning Mercies, a devotional book by Paul David Tripp. This entry about “Hope” had been given to everyone in our 1 Peter study class shortly before my trip to China. I especially loved it because (1) Hope is my 2019 “word of the year,” and (2) I love repeated numbers like 7/7.
“Gospel hope is a mouthful. It includes so many wonderful provisions that it’s hard to get it all in one bite. Yes, biblical hope gives you a lot of spiritual nutrients to chew on. Yet, many believers seem to live hope-deprived lives.”
“Perhaps one of the dirty secrets of the church is how much we do out of fear and not faith. We permit ourselves to feel small, unable, alone, unprepared and bereft of resources. We tell ourselves that what we’re facing is too big and requires too much of us. We stand at the bottom of mountains of trouble and give up before we’ve taken the first step of the climb. We wait for hope to come in some noticeable, seeable way, but it never seems to arrive…. We wonder, “where is hope to be found?”
“What we fail to understand is that we don’t have a hope problem; we have a sight problem…. Hope isn’t first a set of circumstances. Hope isn’t first a set of ideas. Hope is a person and his name is Jesus. He came to earth to face what you face and to defeat what defeats you so that you would have hope.”
“You have hope because he exists and is your Savior. You don’t have a hope problem; you have been given hope that is both real and constant. The issue is whether you see it.”
“Paul captures the problem this way in Ephesians 1:18-19, “… having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.”
“Paul prays that we will have a well-working spiritual vision system so that we will “see” the hope that we have been given in Christ. What is this hope? It is a rich inheritance. Jesus died and left us a rich inheritance of grace to be invested in facing the troubles of the here and now. It is great power that is ours in the moments when we are so weak. Hope came, and he brought with him riches and power that he gave to you. You see, you don’t really have a hope problem; you have a vision problem, and for that there’s enlightening grace.
I want to both see hope with my eyes and hold hope with my soul. I want to experience God’s hope first-hand, being an eyewitness to His immeasurable greatness at work in my life and believing what He has already spoken in His Word.
Please join me in praying that we would “have the eyes of our hearts enlightened,” and that we would “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
We can trust God to answer our prayers for hope. When we ask our Heavenly Father, “Can I see it?” He will both let us see hope with our eyes and hold it fast with our souls.