Nurture Hope. I had a blog nearly finished when I heard the Holy Spirit bring these two words to mind and I knew I needed to incorporate this truth. Nurturing hope is cultivating. It’s an act of, caring, protecting and developing. If faith is a seed, then hope is knowing what you planted will grow. Its understanding that this little tiny seed will move dirt out of its way, reach towards the sun and turn into a watermelon. It’s knowing that everything that is needed to be a watermelon is in that seed and all you need to do is take action, plant and nurture the seed. This is hope. The action of knowing, the action of believing and the action of nurturing what was planted in faith. Cultivate anticipation! Believe in what you planted!
We must nurture our hope. Especially in the circumstances that disagree with our faith. Daily discouragements, big or small are like a drip that can carve granite. It can shake the resolve of the strongest person. Constant obstacles or opposition are comparable to being on a diet ALLLLL the time. No cheat days. No holiday meals. No celebrations. No cake, no ice cream. Happy Birthday! Just day in and day out miserable lettuce. Okay, that’s a little dramatic. But I think you get my point. All joy gets sucked clean out of your life when hope dwindles to a trickle and despair gets all the water pressure.
I’ve had promises on my life and words of prophecies spoke over me since I was young. Words I hold close to my heart and are written in my bible and journals. Words that can stir my hope but also haunt me. You know what I mean right? I’ve seen the “almost” turn into the “used to be”, before it ever got going. I’ve experienced the beginning of something wonderful to watch it end painfully. The one thing that was a constant, was hope. It was in the midst of the wonderful and in the middle of the pain. It was present in my gains and in my losses.
Can I be super real here? I’m gonna share a time that I nearly lost my hope. It was about 4 years ago and I was ready to remove my grip from around the thread of hope.
I was sitting on my ottoman putting my nonslip, ugly shoes on, for a part time job that was physically destroying me and I was thinking of all my promises, words of prophesies and hopes that seemed so far away. Months were turning to years. I knew God was in my pain. I knew his promises were yes and amen. I knew the truth of waiting. I knew Abraham waited until he was 100 before his hope was fulfilled and he had a son. I knew Joseph was a teen and he waited in pits and prisons before his palace time in his 30’s. I knew David slayed giants, wandered in the wilderness and ran from Saul before he was King. I was highly aware of the waiting, the wandering and the wondering that hope can be part of.
On this particular day my hope was haunting me and my heart was sick. Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Well said Solomon, well said. My hope was on vapors. I said this stupid prayer. Well, it was more of a flippant conversation with the Lord. I said, “Maybe I should just lay the call of God down on my life and pursue a career in the corporate world.” Now, this would not be a foolish prayer if I was called to the corporate world but I’m not. Man did I try to fit in though. I was that girl who strived and strived in it and just couldn’t cut it. I had favor only to watch it burn up before my eyes. (good times) My health dwindled but boy did I try. I busted my tookis and remained joyful and tried to fit the call in my situation. I absolutely know I was there for a season. I truly know God had me there for a reason. However, I was not to be a permanent fixture to this company. I was too much of a prisoner of hope to the promises that were buried deep in my heart before our life took a shift. And though I did my best in my circumstance, I wasn’t made for this particular job. And it was becoming more and more obvious. All that striving and all that stress along with a few other triggers led to one big event. By August of that year, I had emergency surgery, a major health crisis and my decision to be a corporate girl would be made for me. It was not meant to be.
Hope in moments like this can feel like torment. Holding fast to promises gives you strength to endure the flesh ripping storm. (too dramatic?) I’m really trying to nail this painful hope situation.
Confident faith is a result of nurtured hope. (Hebrews 11:1) We need heart strengthening Joy in our weak moments to endure the seasons of waiting and years of shoveling through the muck of doubt and grief. (Nehemiah 8:10) We must nurture our hope. Circle it in prayer. Giving God praises of thankfulness rather than cries of questioning. Sure you will have times you waiver, I did. But do not commit to your questions, instead fan the flame of hope.
Nurturing hope, is dutifully watching over our seed of faith. On painful days. On sorrowful days and on doubtful days. This is the time to get down on your knees and speak to what you planted. Declare what was sown in faith and watered in tears WILL bloom. Nurture your hope. Soon, you feel your heart encouraged, your soul revived and your spirit lifted. Our heavenly father is in our painful years of waiting. He is alongside us in our grief, our doubt and our moments of despair. Nurturing us, his beloved, to bloom. Cultivating in us a deeper faith. Developing in us an anchored heart. Daring us to hope or possibly, daring us to Hope Again!