Yesterday was Mabel’s big day! Mabel is a delight and a real blessing.
Here she is with her cupcake (or “pupcake” as Lucy calls them).
The slab for our new home was poured a few weeks ago, and now they’re working on framing.
We can’t wait to finally have our own home again. This experience of waiting has taught us a lot about patience. I can’t imagine wandering around in the wilderness like the Israelites. I used to feel like they were pretty dumb for doubting God’s providence or getting really picky about details, but now I think I get it a bit more (and our wait is nothing like theirs).
Do you ever notice yourself putting all your hope in the “next thing”? Like, as soon as X happens, I’ll be happy/strong/disciplined/confident enough to do Y. I’m always doing this. I’ll get in shape next year. I’ll be more committed to some spiritual discipline after we move. I’ll be in a good rhythm as soon as I can get these administrative things done. Every once in a while, the pattern of misplaced hope really jumps out at me and I want to repent. But what is the alternative?
Putting hope in the future is a big part of our identity as Americans. For so long, we have had decades of steady progress in all sorts of fields. It’s understandable to be optimistic about the future. Also, consumerism is built on the promise that acquiring some product or service will improve our lives. Instead of doing a good thing to receive a carrot – we believe that when we consume a carrot, it will impute goodness to us in some way. We can even apply this to spirituality. We’ll be closer to God when we read a book/listen to a sermon/try out some new spiritual practice.
The future is important. And one of the big ideas behind “missional” living is having a purpose – a life that points to the hope of the gospel for the world in an intentional kind of way (not reactionary/passive/let it come to you). But we can’t put our hope there! Our hope has to be in Jesus. Our hope has to be that God’s Holy Spirit is already working things out.
Here’s an example. Let’s say I’m having lunch with someone who doesn’t know God. I can get really excited about the idea of them coming to know God – almost to the point where that future hope obscures what’s actually happening in the present. Instead of listening to the person, I can get lost in a daydream. Or maybe my overly specific plan for this person blinds me to what God is actually doing.
We are putting a lot of hope in our new house. I admit it. We’re talking about this misplaced hope and how we know it’s wrong. I don’t know if “wrong” is the right word. Maybe “foolish” is better. Having a home will enable us to do a lot more hospitality. Living in East Austin will greatly reduce our time spent driving places. But the glory of God does not depend on those things! God can use us right now – and that promise should be our hope.
How about you? What kinds of future hopes do you have? Do you experience times when you feel caught up in those hopes or grounded in right kind of hopes?
Thanks for reading!
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