Keeping hope

Photo by Disha Sheta from Pexels

My nephews just started high school and moved to hostel. Seeing their bright faces as they left home, with myself, my mom and sisters frantically trying to impart any last-minute wisdom that we can, was bitter-sweet. We trust that all we have taught them, all they know about our family and the values they’ve learnt will be good grounding for them in this new environment. Yet we know that that’s not always the case. My one nephew in the past year has been so troublesome, choking under the weight of peer pressure. But this new year, this new experience brings new hope. That God will use the new environment and new challenges to refocus him. To steer him more towards better things, where he can wield his talents for good.

Anyway, this experience also had me thinking about what it means to keep hope alive. After my nephews got in the car, I was left in a quiet house and could not help being nostalgic. This was me years ago – starry-eyed, fearful yet dreamy and dripping with hope. I knew that my future was bright – whatever that meant, and I could not wait to try and grasp it. But my hope – my dreams – were based on sinking sand.

Now, I am reminded that we are called to never lose our wonder. But the wonder isn’t in our ability to achieve things, for Christ has achieved everything for us. He goes to God as the firstborn son, our older brother and says “see, see what I have amassed for each of them”. How glorious is that truth? That our striving isn’t required, Christ has done everything and more. And that everything and more is imputed to us. So now, we have done everything and more! The desire to prove ourselves is futile for we could never do more than that which has been done for us. Our works, as Paul puts them “are rubbish”. Our best efforts and strivings pale in comparison to Christ’s glorious achievements.

So what is this hope that we should keep: that Christ requires us to live as he calls us to, out of gratitude, not a need to justify ourselves. That our talents and our best efforts should be used to glorify him by us using them well. That we work, we strive and achieve because we know Christ, and to glorify him. So now our work is not a quest for self-actualization or fulfillment but a thing of joy. A pleasure in using our best traits to glorify God and to enjoy him in the process of the doing. What freedom! What love!

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