June 30, 2014

when it hurts to hope

One of the dangers of having an afternoon to yourself is the temptation to bake a cake for no reason . . . and that was me today. However, I resisted the urge . . . and instead ate my weight in watermelon. Because if you're going to have 10 servings of something, it's better that it's a fruit and not baked goods, right? Right.

Do you ever have dreams that just don't seem to be working out? 

That door that seems to stay closed, no matter how persistent your prayers. Unmet desires that just won't be subdued.

Are you ever tempted to just let those dreams die, because it just hurts too much to keep hoping?

I have been wrestling with this lately. I have tried to suppress my heart's longings, but it only causes me to become bitter. I have tried to play tricks on my mind in order to make those desires disappear, to fool myself into not wanting things. Somehow, it doesn't work (surprise).

So what now?

A friend of mine challenged me on this. She asked me, "Did God ask you to let that go?"

I had to admit - no, He didn't. It's just too painful to hope, to dream, to have unmet desires. So I want to just give up.

It is a good exercise to stop and ask ourselves:

- Is this desire selfish?
- Is it an idol in my life? (has it become an "ultimate" thing? - something I could't imagine life being happy or joyful without?)
- Has God told me to let it go?
- Is He instead asking me to trust Him deeper, including to trust in His timing?

In her book (which I've referenced before - it's that good) Better Than My Dreams, Paula Rinehart states:

It takes such courage to stay awake to a possibility - to keep bringing a hungry heart back to God, over and over, until he says it's time to let go. It takes faith to believe that if God says no to a good dream . . . it means God is up to something that will, eventually, have his glory written all over it. I find that trusting God with my life often leads to a place that's exhilirating and yet oddly painful at times. Indeed, it can hurt to hope . . . The paradox here is that while it may hurt to hope, the dangers of not hoping are far worse. 

She goes on to write about how we should not live with low expectations or let these dreams die, but instead keep running to God. To process life with Him, even in our disappointments. To be real with God, to struggle through these things with Him. That your life is part of a bigger story, even bigger than the dreams and plans that you have.

It can be tempting to just work these things out on our own, or to run away with our emotions . . . but as Tim Keller has said, "Every single emotion that you have should be processed in prayer."

It's so much easier said than done . . . but let's keep hoping, keep running, keep struggling, keep trusting that God is good - even in disappointment.

1 comment:

  1. "Did God ask you to let that go?" A challenging question indeed! And oh how I try to pull those tricks on my mind you mentioned. But, yes, it doesn't seem to work. Encouraging and convicting post Sarah!

    I'm a new reader here and have enjoyed getting to explore your blog!


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