Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope…
(Zechariah 9:12 NIV)
I’ve become well acquainted with hope, and my feelings towards her vary. Because just as the beginning of this verse states, hope imprisons those who wait for it. We can feel stuck in hope. Standing behind its barricade waiting for our hope to be revealed. And when the thing we hope for tarries, it can become hard to bear.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
(Proverbs 13:12 NIV)
Our souls can become inflamed with longing as we wait. Anxiousness for long awaited prayers can make being a prisoner of hope none too appealing… but just the same, doesn’t hope gives us a spirit of expectancy? Don’t we need something to hope in? To look forward to?
Without hope, we have nothing to anticipate, nothing to be excited about, nothing to expect. If we had nothing to long for, wouldn’t life be bland? I liken hope to the day after Christmas. We enjoy the days leading up to Christmas. The stir in the air, the holiday spirit, is what makes the season exciting. And although we enjoy Christmas Day, once the presents are opened, quality time is spent, and the day is gone, what do we have to long for?
The next holiday I suppose. We can always long for the next celebration… and such is life. As life progresses, there will always be something else we long for after what we've waited for has come to pass. And we’ll endure yet another period of waiting as a prisoner of hope. It is, from what I see, the cycle of life.
But hope is needed in our human experience. Hope motivates us. It gives us an expected future. It creates an exhilarating sense of anticipation when we have something to look forward to. Hope is for our good, not our torture.
In actuality, hope is a special gift from God because it gives us something to cling to. It’s something to keep our minds active and watching for hopes reveal. And when that hope comes… Praise God! We can shout and be joyful, overwhelmed even at what God has done…
We all hope for something. Whether we are hoping for marriage, children, a business, or a new home, we are all hopeful. But our primary hope should be in Christ and His return. For there is no hope outside of this that measures in equivalency.
So, don’t hope for anything more than you hope for God and His presence in your life. Don't pray for blessings more than you ask for God's guidance in your life. If you do so, you’ll find that you have made your hope in that thing your idol. We have to remember the order of things ...
Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven … remember the order.
Dream … but remember the order.
Hope … but remember the order.
Yes, even when we remember the order, hope’s imprisonment can still make the heart sick as the Word states. When this happens, ask God to replace your ill feelings with a quiet and content spirit as you rest in Him. Ask that your hope does not become your god. Pray that God turns your longing towards that thing into a longing for Him.
And when your hope is fulfilled as Proverbs 13:12 states, it will be as a tree of life. I imagine a tree of life is one whose leaves do not wither. One whose roots are deep and fortified, and whose fruit is abundant. So, look forward to your hope, but above all else, hope in Christ and stand watch for His return.
That’s all I have for you today. Have a fantastic day and week! Lord’s will, I’ll see you next Wednesday.
Quin Arrington's debut book "And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way" is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook format. Links listed below: