Hi Friend! I hope you’re having a real good week, and that you’re finding moments of peace and joy, in the midst of life’s normal ebb of pain and sadness.
I had an intriguing conversation with a friend the other day and he made no bones about the fact that he wasn’t a fan of the word hope. I heard him out and I was a little surprised when I wholeheartedly agreed with him. He said, “Hope is too passive.” So I said, “It sure can be. Tell me more about what you’re thinking…”
How Is Hope Passive?
He then talked about how the Bible teaches us that we were made in God’s image, given power and dominion over creation, and told that we would do even greater things than God’s own son. “And then we throw all that back in god’s face and say, ‘That sounds so good, God…but can you just do it?’”
I loved what he was saying; he was putting exact words on my experience. I heard someone once say that hope can lull people into passivity, instead of taking responsibility for their lives and their circumstances. They are trapped, simply hoping for change. This seemed to match my friend’s thinking.
He continued, “We make it palatable with words like surrendering and giving it up to God, by affirming that God has a plan for our lives and it’s not for us to know. But a life truly surrendered and abandoned to God is one of ACTION. God having a plan is a ‘get out of jail free’ card not a ‘get out of responsibility free’ card. Faith is action. Faith is lived. Every day. Hope flows out from the life that’s lived seeking to be worthy of the calling to which we’ve been called.”
Then he delivered the clincher: “If we want to hear God say, Well done, my good and faithful servant, we’re going to have to *gulp* DO something.”
This makes so much sense to me. And as the Hope Coach, I want to encourage you to have an active hope, rather than a passive hope. This active hope is rooted in taking a partnership approach to God, rather than simply crossing your fingers and hoping God shows up.
What Is Active Hope?
I love the lyrics of Matthew West’s song “Do Something” which says, “I shook my fist at Heaven, said, ‘God, why don't You do something?’ He said, ‘I did, yeah, I created you.’” The song continues:
I'm so tired of talking about
How we are God's hands and feet
But it's easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It's alright, "somebody else will do something"
Well, I don't know about you
But I'm sick and tired of life with no desire
I don't want a flame, I want a fire and
I wanna be the one who stands up and says
"I'm gonna do something"
Active, living hope means saying to God, “God, I’m going to do my part, and I’m going to trust you to do with it all exactly what you desire.”
For example, I want to be extremely generous in all aspects of my life, but I also want to continually surrender my desire to know exactly what’s going to happen as a result of my generosity. I’m actively giving, and at the same time, actively believing that God is going to bring about great good as a result, even if I never see any proof. That to me, is how I can live an active hope.
A final thought from my friend…
“To live in hope is a life of courageous faith. Step out. Don’t wait for the stirrings of the spirit before you do the difficult, awkward, uncomfortable things. Do them NOW because you are a child of FAITH. If God is for us who can be against us? Paul famously asked. If we truly believe the answer is no one and nothing, let’s put our hope where our mouth is and DO something about it.”
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Hi (((((Mark))))) As I am reading this, couldn’t help thinking about the people in my life who have used me. I know I still had God at my side. These people would talk about how they hope that some day God would bless them with what they deserve. They didn’t realize that God had sent me to be in their life to see how someone could turn them around. Finally, God had told me “Christine, I appreciate what you were trying to do, but this is what not I signed you up for”. I know God has other plans for me. My hope is that people will find peace with what they are doing by using people like me like they had. I have forgiven them
I love this so much, Mark! Like your friend, I am a firm believer that God equipped us to DO things - and a brain to think with (hopefully before we “do” 😆). Thanks for a great reminder that hope is active and alive and we have a part in it. ♥️