Joy asked me this morning,
“Mom, tell me again ??? ….
WHY did you not allow me to watch many Disney movies when I was little?”
It’s been quite a while since she has asked this question.
But, this time, I’m certain that she heard my answer and she understood.
I answered, “Because, I didn’t want you to have planted in your mind
the “Disney-princess-happily-ever-after” idea.
There are two places you will find this image
run amuck: chick flicks and Disney movies.
It’s a lie, Joy. If you watch those movies, you will begin to think,
‘THAT’S what I want! My parents didn’t have it, but I WILL!’
Every life has SOME of that eye-lash-batting and handkerchief saving,
but it’s NOT what life is made of. Relationships are work.
People are messy. There is reward ..
but marriage is not all daisies, pink chiffon and white stallions.”
I still remember the feeling I had when he first spoke the phrase.
My friend, Charles, is quite wise. He is a good listener. He uses words sparingly. He remembers a good quote and will share it with precise, perfect timing. He is a wordsmith and a writer. He uses gentlemanly charm to ask, “May I offer some advice?” rather than pummeling one with unsolicited direction.
And I still remember the feeling I had when he first spoke the phrase.
Through the years, I prayed for God to save my marriage …
but my main focus …
at LEAST for the last ten years of our marriage …
“Lord, please change ME to make ME the person that I need to be in this marriage.”
In the end, there was no change that was enough.
I became single.
And there I sat
All that energy …
all that focus …
all that hope …
for naught …
Today, I am surrounded by a host of witnesses who are struggling in their marriages …
women who are fighting … on bended knee …
men who are crying out … with raised hands.
They tell me their stories as we stand
beside cold metal buggies in a grocery store aisle,
on the sidewalk in front of my home with Suburbans whizzing by,
at swim meets a midst splashing water and timing buzzers announcing another race start,
at home school meetings where you expect to find “strong” marriages and “healthy” families ….
at church, via email, through Facebook and on the phone.
Some stories I have watched unfold. I have seen the friend beg
and finally lay waste any idea of what to do next.
Some stories are hidden. I have known the couple …
but they appeared happy … healthy … strong in their relationship.
Some stories come from strangers … people who bare their souls quickly after meeting.
These people … new acquaintances, ancient friends, dear hurting souls …
they are disillusioned … perplexed … baffled.
I still remember the feeling I had when he first spoke the phrase…
“Hope … is a dangerous thing.”
It sounds like sacrilege. It sounds anti-Christian. Or non-Biblical.
It is most-certainly not a Disney-phrase.
It sounds plain wrong.
But, the more I have talked with him …
the more I have listened to others …
the more I have prayed and cried out to understand “hope”
the more I believe
…. may be right.
Proverbs 13:12 tells us
Hope deferred makes the heart-sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
‘Tis true, isn’t it? When we hope and do not find fulfillment, our heart becomes
discouraged … lethargic … sick.
I want to do a word study on “hope” …
to see just what scripture says about hope
one of the “three that remain” (1 Corinthians 13:13) …
but one thought that I am certain …
The root of MY problem with hope
was that my hope was improperly placed.
I had this image of what my marriage SHOULD have looked like.
Oh, it was founded upon scriptural description …
but the fact remains that
– for many years –
I looked at my husband
rather than my Lord
to fulfill any hopes that I carried in my heart.
Surely, scripture was written as our guide
not to be our judge.
The verses about husbands
should not be used by wives to judge whether our husband
is measuring up …
but rather by the husband as a guide for his own direction.
And the same goes for the wife.
Or the neighbor.
Or the servant, child or laborer.
In our many roles … wearing the many hats that we wear,
scripture should be our plumb line for our own personal standards
rather than the rule-book we use to judge whether others
are doing THEIR job properly.
And so, I have laid aside the dangerous hope
of holding onto ideas that I have conjured up
through chick-flicks, Disney
or even highly lauded scriptural outlines.
And so, I leave you with the words that I typed into the keyboard just this morning
to a dear sweet friend … struggling:
“when our hope rests in ANY.THING
other than Christ …
other than God’s provision
of all things …
tangible and not …
when our hope rests in ANY.THING
other than a day-to-day knowing
that we really do.not have any control …
hope is dangerous.
hope is dangerous …
when we use it to continue to cling to
an image that we have conjured up
of what things “should” look like.”
May your hope
in the day-to-day living
that is under girded, directed and strengthened
by a Father who loves us,
a Son who sacrificed for us
and a Spirit who guides us
day in – day out …
May our hope simply be in Him
not in our own dreams and ideas …
that hope would not be found to be
a “dangerous thing.”