Our hope can only be in our Lord Jesus Christ. If we place our hope in anything less, it will surely disappoint us. Even the most trustworthy person will fail us. Spouse, family, friends. Anyone and everyone will fail us. No one is totally trustworthy. Only Christ.
“ … but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)
The entire Old Testament can be summed up like this: God says, worship me only; do not build idols; do not worship false Gods. And what do we do? We build idols. We worship false gods. And then, we are disappointed that the object of our worship disappoints us, fails us, and leaves us with the hole in our souls that can only be filled by one source: Christ.
Time and again, we put our hope in others, rather than Christ. Time and again, others fall short of our expectations. And we find ourselves drained of strength, weary, and faint. We want to give up. We wonder: “Is this all worth it?” The answer: “Yes, it is worth it.” “Yes, we can soar, but not on our own strength, and not by placing our hope in human beings, who will surely fail to live up to our expectations of how they “should” behave. We have an idea of how we “should” be treated. We believe others, who are also Christ-followers, “should” love us like Christ wants us to be loved. And when we are disappointed, we question God. “How can this be?” we ask ourselves. This person is seems so close to Christ. “How can they behave in this way?” I believe the answer is quite simple, and clearly articulated in Isaiah: Our hope needs to be in Christ.
HOPE IN CHRIST ALONE
To the degree that we place our hope in our fellows is the degree that we will be disappointed, and our expectations will not be met. To the degree that our hope is in Christ alone – that is where we will find the strength needed to walk the walk that Christ wants us to walk, to run the race the Christ wants us to run, and to finish well.
Large idols are easy to identify, but it is the small ones that cause me the most pain. When I put my hope in fellow Christ-followers, I have built small idols. I am tempted to give an example. I can see clearly this person’s face, and could relay a story that would prove out my point. But I can not talk about it, for it would hurt this person, and damage their reputation. What can I do? The answer: Pray. The Holy Spirit can do things that I can not. Now that I am thinking about it, there are a few that come to mind. Therefore, I give these people over to Christ and pray for them. I ask the Holy Spirit to intervene, and wait. God will do for me what I can’t do for myself. My experience is this: If I take matters in my own hands, chances are I will handle it poorly, and even get in the way of the Holy Spirit working in other people’s lives. I need to turn them over to Christ, and trust that God will do for me what I can’t do for myself. I need to turn over the idol of my expectations to Christ. I have to turn over the “should.”
“SHOULDS” ARE DANGEROUS
He “should” do “x”; She “should” do “y.” How easily do we “should” each other. What I am really saying is that you “should” be perfect, like your Heavenly Father is perfect. However, that is not for me to say. Who am I to “should” you, my friend? You could easily “should” me back. And then where would we be? Answer: We would be right where satan (lower case “s” on purpose) and his demons want us to be: Fighting with each other. I need to let go of my expectations of you, how I expect you to behave, and what I expect you to do. I need to put my hope and trust in Christ alone. Christ Jesus will not disappoint me. You will. And I will disappoint you. I will fail to live up to your expectations, and I will let you down. God knows, I don’t want to. But I will. Simply put, we can’t idolize any human being, for we are all sinners and we all fall short of God’s glory. There is no one righteous. Not even the seemingly most Godly person on this planet. Ah, but Christ, He will never let us down! He is worthy to be idolized. He alone is worthy to be put on a pedestal. In fact, he is totally worthy of all our praise. All our worship. All our adoration. Amen?
SOARING WITH CHRIST
I write this for myself to hear. Hopefully, it helps you as well. But I need to hear this, and reflect on this fact: Soaring with Christ means putting my hope in Christ alone. I can trust him fully and completely. In closing, the preceding verse in Isaiah is a great reminder: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 28-29 NIV). The more I work in Christian ministry, the more I need this reminder: I am weak: Christ is strong; I grow tired; Christ renews my strength. Yes, it is true: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall …” (Isaiah 40:30 NIV). May we all soar with Christ, casting aside the little idols of expectations that we have for each other, and may we place our hope in Christ Alone. Amen.
Your aspiring (and sometimes disappointed) servant,
27 June 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent conversation with God blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. If you ever want to chat, reach out at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily Conversations with Christ.