Hopeless Romantic

September 25, 2012


 School has retired summer vacation and sent it to the hopeful optimism of next year with full book bags, this year’s fashions by Old Navy and enough peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to feed a third world country. Kids arrive in the school parking lots delivered via B-29 bomb-drop from formations of honeybee colored carriers, neutrally painted SUVs and Mini-vans.

Young students rush toward friends whom they have not seen in three months and exchange wide-eyed welcomes. It takes me back to my own first days of school. They were so full of hope and potential. Maybe the football team will go to state this year. This is the year that I get straight “A’s”. There could be romance with that new kid. I may move up a social class and move away from the “dweeb” lunch table. Some of these aspirations may be based in realism. Some may not be.

It seems to me that the greatest motivations for going back to school are the unrealistic hopes that fuel optimism. There is a desire for the miraculous. It also dawned on me that that is why I get out of bed, get married, order something different at a restaurant or watch sports. I have a craving for the unexplainable, the supernatural and the wishfully optimistic. I am a romantic.

I wondered this morning as I wrote this, if we, as Christians have forgotten how to hope. I have sat in a fair amount of church board meetings where the focus is on what we should not do based on the evident realities, rather that the possibilities based on God moving. We spend far too much time reckoning and far too little time praying. We spend far too much time protecting.

We protect our comfort, our sacred cows, our bank accounts, our children, our careers and ourselves. I have discovered that I have a propensity to shield myself, even the parts that I do not like, from change. I don’t really want to be different, more faithful, more like Jesus or without sin. I like my sin. Righteousness is too hard and waiting for God’s hand requires trust. Trust is for the naïve. We are more about action. We are more about our action justified by our logic. God should sit this one out.

The hope rests in new beginnings. Faith resides in risk. Risk demands wisdom. Wisdom guides leadership. Leadership must be directed by God.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;  8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.    

And there is the death of hope.

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