As a girl who has spent the majority of her life in the South, when someone says, “Hold your fork.” when clearing the dishes after dinner, I know exactly what that means. For those of you non-southerners it means that dessert is coming and if you don’t keep your fork you will end up with a mouth watering cobbler or banana pudding in front of you that you can’t eat because you will have no way to get it from the plate to your mouth. That is just not okay!!
I recently heard a teaching that talked about holding your fork in the context of the goodness of God. Scripture tells is God is good and when we hold that fork we know He has something good for us in the future – even better than peach cobbler! I couldn’t get this visual of me holding a fork out of my mind. The reality to me was the act of holding that fork was really holding on to hope. I sometimes sit on the struggle bus of being able to hold onto hope. If you are my seat buddy on this hope struggle bus keep reading.
It isn’t difficult when things are good and we see God’s hand moving in our circumstances. Those are the times hope is easily found. It is when the world seems to be crumbling around us that hope is something that seems to be an indistinct concept. When we find ourselves in a space in which we need to have faith, lacking hope makes that space seem impossible as Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for. We can’t have faith if we have lost hope. Faith, hope, and love are the heart of our life in Christ based on 1 Corinthians 13:13, so the question is…
How do we hold on to hope when it doesn’t seem, in our natural view, there is any hope?
Sometimes I feel foolish to hope when everything around me tells me there isn’t hope. When my situation hasn’t panned out how I thought it would. It seems as if I have been holding that fork and everyone else has left the table. Unfortunately there are times when we all sit in a place of hopelessness. We have seen God’s goodness in the past in both the small things and the big things, but today it seems like all of the goodness has run out. We feel the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train rather than a glimpse of hope. We feel like God seems to be distant and we know He can but the question is will He? For me?
When I really started digging into what scripture tells us about hope the theme was this: Hope comes from Jesus for our eternity. Hope isn’t used in the context of hoping for a new job, hoping we find meaningful relationships, have enough money to make ends meet this month, etc. So are we not supposed to hope for all of these things? We are to hope for these things using the lens of the hope we have in the fact that Jesus died, kicked the devil and death in the teeth through his resurrection, and is returning again. This creates a place of hopefulness in the fact that a Savior who did all of this for us did it so we could be in a close relationship with him forever! Titus 1:2 tells us we have, “…hope of eternal life, which God, promised before the age began.”
Francis Chan brings up the question in his book Letters to the Church of how this huge God connects to you and I… “The sun in ninety-three million miles away, and you are unable to stare at it. You obviously can’t touch the sun and live, so how is it possible that we are currently attached to the One who shines brighter than the sun?” Romans 5:2 answers this beautiful question.
“ Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into his place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
Let that sink in for a minute! We have hope in the fact that we get to spend eternity with Christ. If we are encompassed in the hope of eternity and the Glory of our God, we can certainly find hope in today. When I think of how the God who created a sun I can’t get near is the same God that is always near to me on a personal and intimate level, I can’t help but to hold onto hope. When things are tough and circumstances are fighting against my faith I just can’t help but see myself holding my fork in hope of what is to come as I stand in the truth of Hebrews 6:18-19:
“Therefore we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.”
Let’s sit down at the table, hold our fork and wait for the one who invited us to sit at His table to allow us to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalms 34:8).