Hope is slippery and, in this heart, fickle. Like a kite soaring heights with one breath and plummeting to earth with the same velocity at the next breath, I find my hope in this season difficult to keep hold of.
I am bulimic in hope. Disordered, at best, I gorge myself on dreaming of life free from the confines I’ve constructed for myself, scratching and picking at longings hidden just below the surface, asking and listening to God about what reckless pursuit of Him might look like… and then I purge. As the internal tide turns, and even as I consciously witness the transition, I recoil from hope. Convinced of my own foolishness, convinced allowing others to hope with me is setting myself up for embarrassment, and certain in my orphan-heart’s belief that I alone hold the responsibility to protect my heart from the sting of disappointment, I run from hope.
“Perhaps we should set more reasonable expectations” says doubt. “Maybe if we binged on something else, the tension would not be so unpleasant.” it urges. “If you want to avoid humiliation,” it suggests, “You absolutely shouldn’t expose a vulnerable hope in things that might not work out.” Often, I find myself miles down the path towards the extermination of hope before I recognize the signs that I am in enemy territory and turn back toward the the home kept for me in Hope.
I take comfort, at least, in knowing that in my struggle with hope I have good company. This morning, my reading including John 21:4-8. I was struck by how, just days after experiencing the presence and words of the resurrected Christ, we meet Peter again in a boat, again laboring in the hot sun with empty fishing nets, again experiencing the ebb of hope- convincing him to cast nets, meet his own needs, and return to a place he’d left years ago. I too wander, burn under the hot sun of despair, and labor in vain in pursuits I’ve long been called away from in an attempt to insulate my heart from hope that feels too vulnerable.
And just like Peter, Christ finds me when tide of hope is at it’s lowest. Like Peter and the other disciples that day, He seeks me. He calls out to me. And He provides for me. He invites me to the battle to hope another day, with his promise that a hope anchored in Him is, though painful, holy.