|“So I say, ‘My splendor is gone and all that I had |
hoped from the Lord’…The Lord is good to those whose
hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.”
|—Lamentations 3: 18, 25 (emphasis added)|
I must have been twelve or so—the age when most girls start to worry about their appearance and whether or not they will fit in with their friends. I had asked for a certain kind of sweater for Christmas and literally didn’t care about receiving anything much besides it.
Christmas Day came with the usual excitement and anticipation. Our family celebrated and gave gifts—and, after opening my gifts, I was shocked to realize that I had not receive the greatly desired sweater.
As a mopey teen, I clearly showed my disappointment. I even have a photograph to prove it! How could my parents have heard my distinct request and not fulfilled it?
Two days later, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins got together for our annual extended family Christmas dinner and gift giving. Our large table was filled with all sorts of delightful dishes. We enjoyed lots of laughter and conversation. Once the dishes were done—it took so long in those days because we had no dish washer—we sat down to open presents.
Imagine my delight and surprise when the person who had drawn my name gave me the sweater. And not just the sweater, but the exact style, color, and size I had wanted! How foolish I felt for ruining my Christmas Day feeling sorry for myself and for doubting my parents’ careful love for me.
Many years later, I read the verses from Lamentations that I have quoted above. I realized then that God doesn’t want us to think of Him as an indulgent Santa Claus who promptly gives His children everything for which they hope. Instead, He wants us to place our hope in Him and leave the actual details of meeting our genuine needs to His great wisdom.
The Scriptures tell us in Romans 15:13 that God is a God of hope:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This kind of hope is an amalgam of joy, peace, and trust in our God. This kind of hope produces in us a much deeper sense of belief than just a child-like expectancy that comes when a girl blows out all her birthday cake candles wishing for something very special.
During this Christmas season, and throughout the year ahead, whether you receive from God all you for which you hope or not, may you learn to hope in Him and be at peace with the decisions He makes in your behalf.