I was having coffee with Katie & Emily the other day. We had just  come from the funeral of Dave & Melissa's (couple in our church) little baby, Jonas. Emily was talking about the funeral and something dad said during it..."Our hope is not in the gifts given, rather in the Giver of the gifts." That comment seemed to jump out at me. So, I went to www.esv.org and typed in hope. There were 166 different references to it in the Bible. Webster's Dictionary defines hope as:

Transitive verb

1. to cherish a desire with anticipation

Intransitive verb

1. to desire with expectation of obtainment

2. expect with confidence

As I read these definitions I started thinking about how often Scripture commands us to put our hope in the Lord ( Ps. 130:7, Ps. 147:11, Jer. 14:22, Lam. 3:24, Matt. 12:18-21, 2 Cor. 1:10). My hope doesn't lie in my belongings. It doesn't lie in my family. It doesn't lie in my friends. It doesn't lie in my safety or my country. My hope doesn't lie in the gifts I've been given. My hope is set firmly in the Giver of those gifts. He gives them, He takes them away. My heart still chooses to bless His name. He can withhold gifts. He can lavishly bless. My faith and peace should not be affected by either. My hope is in the One who gently holds my hand. He saved me, He is leading me Home. No matter if the road seems bumpy. No matter if waves seem to be crashing upon me. He upholds me. My hope is in His proven character. He has a perfect track record. My hope is in His holiness, in His love, in His Sovereignty, in His omniscience, in His care. Does this mean I don't ask for gifts? NO! Hope is expectant confidence. I boldly go to the throne of grace. I ask very specifically for what I want. I can do this because He's my Father (because of the cross I live in the Family Room, not the Court Room). The Bible is very clear that He loves to give good gifts to His children. Since He is my Father, He may tell me no. But, that's because He knows that my silly request would bring me harm, not good. Or, at times, He knows that even though I'm asking for doll, that He's going to give me a doll and doll house at Christmas. The doll wouldn't bless so much in July as it will in December. No, is not cold or uncaring. No shows much love and wisdom. But, because I love Him and trust Him, I still ask. There will always be times when He says yes and times when He says no. But, my hope isn't in the answer but in Him! What a hope that is...it can never be shaken!!!

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