I HATE that. Especially at this time of year. Especially when the delayed shipment contains my hope. (necklace, at least.)
I confess- I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. For the most part love- as evidenced by the rainforest of trees pulped into cardboard boxes with “that” little Amazon smile on the side in my garage. (Not rainforest wood in this boxes, btw.) I love that Amazon delivers Christmas straight to my door when I’m too busy and too cray-cray avoidant to go to the mall.
Not so much-when I order myself a necklace that says: “Hope.” And it’s shipping is delayed:(
Which is ironic and, kind of biblical.
Scripture says: Hope delayed- sucks. (Well- not exactly. Thats’ the Tracey-version) But, pretty much. Read here.)
No. This is not (just) about a necklace I got as a daily deal while I was supposed to be Christmas shopping for OTHERS. (That’s a whole ‘nother article. I’m so much easier for me to shop for than, others. I know what I like.)
Anyway-this IS about: hope. Delayed. Deferred. Not by UPS. Or Amazon.
- Hope for my husband’s healing.
- Hope for a project I long to finish.
- Hope for my kids best.
- Hope for a Christmas (and a life) not tainted by cancer.
- And- yes- hope that the gifts I’ve ordered will arrive by Christmas- so I won’t be up till 2 am printing off I O U’s and wrapping pictures of the same.)
Some of these, I’ve been waiting a very long time for. Years. Decades. Months. Weeks. (Days for Amazon- which can feel like years.) Side note: The older I get- the more Santa looks like the UPS guy. Just saying.
Some days my heart feels sickened by hope deferred.
I feel: anxious, disappointed, frustrated, afraid.
Not by UPS.
I hate to admit that. I hate even more, that it’s true. It’s also true that I’ve been beating myself with the “have you no faith?” stick, about it.
I mean-part of being a Christian means I believe that hope and faith are connected. All good Christians know that: faith is.. “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1)
Which means: If I have faith- I’ll have hope that all these things will come to pass. Then- they will. Right? It’s auto-magic. Christ-o-matic. Something like that.
Except- that’s NOT what this verse says.
Here’s the context:
1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.
3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”a For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because sheb considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
and continues later:
39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
This morning, Hope will either arrive- or not. I have no idea. What I do know is this: God has planned something better for us- so that together with US- the great list of the faithful in the Hebrews would be made perfect- whether they received what was promised or not.
The truth is still the truth.
Maybe this isn’t about me my hope, (deferred or not) or my faith( – enough or not-)after all. Maybe, it’s about God. Maybe he has a bigger picture.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t know WHY God allows hope to be deferred when it makes our hearts sick. Let’s face it- I don’t even know why UPS is delayed.
I do know this: where to turn when my heart feels sick with hope deferred.
To the one who loves me and comforts me in all pain. The one who DOES have all the answers, whether He shares them or not. And- the one who knows how all these things will play out- generations from now.
That -gives me hope. Which makes NO sense at all.
Maybe that’s what heart sickness is supposed to do. Maybe that’s part of the difference between God and a heavenly Santa.
Santa pays out when we’re good enough- God loves us when we’re heart-sick and somehow- then uses it to renew the deferred hope that made us sick in the first place. (God is a Homeopath? Maybe.)
Dear Lord- you know I’m hoping for many things….. you also know I’m tired and disappointed and frustrated and heartsick over some of them. I offer up that heartsickness. I turn to you for comfort. Renew my hope. Remind me that I’m not waiting on Amazon or UPS- but on the one who loves perfectly and who’s plan is much bigger than I can comprehend. I love you Lord- even here- when I don’t understand and my Hope if deferred. Amen.