Thursday, January 17, 2008

"for he who promised is faithful"

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

What is this hope? It is the hope found in Jesus Christ, in His death and resurrection. Knowledge that because of Christ's death and resurrection we have the hope of heaven. We no longer have to fear death in this life because there is a new life that follows. An eternal life, with a new body, no pain, no suffering, and constant, unfailing love. Not just someone else's love for us, but constant and unfailing love for a gracious, and just, Creator. Belief in this love, which even before we reach heaven is constant and unfailing, and the expression of that love through the death of His Son on the cross is where our hope lies, and this is the hope we profess.

What does it mean to "hold unswervingly" to that hope? To hold onto it without faltering, taking no turn to the right or left, without retreat. That no matter what happens in our lives, whether it be bad, good or extreme, we continue to hold steadfast in the hope of our salvation. We continue to believe the truths and promises offered us by God, through His Word. When we hold to these promises, believing in them despite circumstances, we will not falter. We may stumble, be tripped up, but so long as we keep our eyes on the prize, eternity with a God who loves us beyond comprehension, we will not fail. To continue to live life with God's promises in mind, not allowing circumstances to sway our relationship with Him, is to "hold unswervingly."

"[F]or he who promised is faithful." God is faithful in fulfilling His promises. And there are many promises, not the least of which is His promise, spoken through the apostle Paul, that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). And no matter the circumstances that require us to hold so unswervingly to our hope in Him, He is faithful to complete the work He began in us. He knows His plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and He knows how He will fulfill those plans, though we may only have a glimpse of what those plans are. The exhortation is to trust in Him, and in His promises. It is an affirmation that He is faithful to those promises, and therefore, trustworthy.

And yet, despite all this, I still have a hard time trusting. Probably because He's telling me no to something I want. What I don't trust is that I don't know what's best for me, but that God does. Because I certainly like to think I know what's best for me, especially in regards to relationships, in particular, romantic relationships. Thus far, romance, and relationships stemming from romance, seems to be the bane of my existence. I feel like I go in circles when it comes to this area of my life. It's the bane because I don't always trust that God knows best, and that His timing is perfect. But when I get to that place of contentment, or trust, and things are going well, then enters someone who has the ability to change all of that. Not that he wants that ability, nor does he realize he even possesses it, but I grant him it. Whomever he is, he becomes my focus, instead of God. The desire for a relationship, companionship, human love, becomes an idol in my life, and I place any of those things in the place that rightfully belongs to God.

I've noticed, as I've done this, that the man in question typically doesn't return the feelings I have for him. Which should be an indication that I'm not on the right path, and need to refocus. But by the time I realize this, it seems, I've allowed my heart to get too involved. I have yet to learn how to guard my heart. I so desperately want someone to give my heart to, that if I think I've found that someone I let whatever guard I have down, and attempt to (with some success, even if it's not received) give it away. Once you give your heart to someone, it's really not all that easy to get it back, if at all. And what you do get back isn't everything, there's always some part of your heart that stays with that person. Sure, God can make you whole again, but that's just as painful as giving parts of yourself away. Because often, it requires the reopening of old wounds so that they may heal properly, thus leaving a scar instead of a scab.

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