I’ve always thought that hope is more frightening than despair. With despair, you seal off your exits. Like in dreams when you’re being chased by an axe-man and it’s easier to stop and be killed, than keep running, keep trying and keep going.
The upside of stopping, is you can pretend control. The downside is, you always die.
So, here’s the question: Better to say to the axe-man (and yourself), ‘I told you so’ and die feeling righteous? Or take the sliver of hope and get a life you thought was beyond your reach?
Usually I stop. And in dreams, there’s something to be said for not running for eight hours. But in life, I sometimes use the same technique. I won’t hope. I won’t engage with the possibility of ‘success’ – because I’d rather be miserable and in charge, than be joyful and take risks. I won’t move beyond what I know, what I can manage, because I’d rather have the security of slavery than the quick thrill of hope.
Problem is, this isn’t the life that Jesus calls me to. Sure, discipleship is no picnic. But it’s all about hope: a hope we can’t see and a hope we can’t control. And this is why the hope is so real: it’s outside us.
There are many days where I want to stop running. I want to settle for a smaller reality and a smaller truth and a smaller God who’ll accept a smaller me. I like to squish my dreams before they get cocky: or at least, keep them small enough to manage.
But the Lord will not let us be less. He demands that we hope and He writes it on our hearts. It burns there, fierce and bright and true. He keeps it aflame; and He won’t let it go out.