Deep down, underneath all you consider yourself to be, is an emptiness longing to be filled. It is as if something really important to your sense of self is missing and there is a deep searching. It is that search for a sense of meaning, a sense of “I am OK because . . . “ (fill in the blank)
Each one of us will to varying degrees seek to answer that searching with tangible objects that are easier to see. It is human to look to objects for that sense of anchor.
But . . .
As you move through life, you quickly become aware that stuff does not cut it. Many will even dismiss the validity of such interior movements. But the truth remains, who we are as God- given human beings has little or nothing to do with what I have or who I think I am. There is more to each one of us.
When I retired from the active Priesthood, I feared the void that would come when I have no role or title; no one asking for advice. Stuff! What would I do or be? Who am I?
Over time I realized we are more than what we or others think we are or should be. We are more than what we do or what we have. There is something deep down that gives us a sense of validity that is not correlated with stuff.
I share this because hope is the awareness that life is a process of moving on. Hope is about leaving behind to move into what is coming. Hope makes no sense if we think we have arrived or that what we are now is all that we shall be. No. there is more to each one of us than we even realize. Hope is about the fact that we are never alone.
Hope is about that emptiness deep down. Hope is about the sail boat that must leave the safety of the shore to become what it was designed to be. Hope is about looking at ourselves in the mirror and just looking, not judging.
That is how God sees each one of us. That is how God sees you. God is present with you because you are. Never forget God is not about law and guilt — which many people believe. Why seek a relationship with a God of guilt. No. God is not about law. God is about grace. It is that grace that feeds us on that journey called life. It is the grace of God’s continued presence that calls us forward.
The God of Hope is not a God of guilt. So much is lost when it comes to the power of faith in the God revealed by Jesus if all we hear is guilt and punishment. I have had enough of it.
It is very hard to find a meaningful “connect” with a God many people believe is all about guilt. It gets tiring and is really boring.
And not the case.
The God of Hope is the God Jesus revealed. Yes he said to many “get your act together” but not to produce guilt but hope.
Hope is not about the status quo but transformation. Hope is not about what’s wrong but about what’s right. Hope is about the opportunity to “get our act together” because what IS right now is not all there is.
And to know — really know — that we are never alone – in spite of ourselves — means there is always a “pick me up” when we need it. The God of Presence, revealed by Jesus to many people who thought their lives were abandoned, does not abandon us when we do something stupid.
Hope is about movement, a process; about something deep within us that makes a difference in our lives. Hope is about a God who desires relationship with us , not our condemnation. That is what the Resurrection (to use a big word, sorry) is all about. God With Us. Now.
Hope is not about some pre planned future but about the guaranteed presence of God right here, right now. Hope is about potential. Hope is about the reality that what is right now is not all there is.
Do you ever get wrapped up in your stuff? Do you ever say, “If it was not for my personal gifts and what I have, there would be no hope”?
So. Life is hope less without stuff?
I make no excuse. My faith reveals to me that when Jesus walked and talked with people in pain, it was God at the very same time. God-Come-Down. The eye of faith will see this. The eye of reason will not. There is a difference. More to come.
Anyway, God’s desire in that event was presence — being available in the human experience. God does not promise to make everything well and good even though we wish God could and would. God does not keep bad things from happening to good people even though we wish God could and would. No. God’s promise through Jesus and later through the grace of God is that God is present with us, in our lives, when the lights go out. That is what hope is: the awareness that no one is ever alone, that God cares, and that even should the future show no signs of getting better, God is still present.
Hope is the ability to see when there is nothing to see, to go forward when there seems to be no way forward, and to know you are not alone when sometimes it seems that way.
Hope is the deep down awareness that
ALL THERE IS
IS NOT ALL THERE IS.