I picked up one of my last few riders after 2:00 a.m. bar closings while driving for Uber this past Friday, Inauguration night. He was put into the front passenger seat by his boyfriend, who after telling him he loved my rider, told me, " His name is Sean. Please get him home safe." Once we started driving, Sean's first words to me were, "I'm sorry." When I asked for what, he said, "for being." I immediately told him to not be sorry, that I was glad for his being and for being here. During the next 10 minutes of the ride, Sean peppered me with questions in his drunken stupor about the election, the inauguration, education, healthcare, and what I did for work. In trying to answer what I could, I referenced my former job doing the National Health Care Survey for the U.S. Census Bureau and my brother's working at the FBI for some street cred, and tried to be as positive as I could in our discussion. Toward the end of our ride, Sean asked me rather aggressively, "How can you be so optimistic?!?" The answer that popped out of my mouth, while looking straight into his eyes was, "Because I have Hope!" When he asked me in what did I put my hope, I tried to use what little time I had to shed light on real hope, foundational hope.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love..." I Corinthians 13:13a
Hope is a foundation for our lives and in whom or what it is placed matters a great deal. Ps. 42:5 says, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." Many times in my life I have found myself hoping in or trusting in something or someone else that was not the Lord. The descriptions of "downcast" and "disturbed" definitely applied to my soul (mind, will, and emotions) at those times. Anything and anyone else that had my ultimate hope or trust was bound to disappoint in some form or fashion. I am not talking about hoping and trusting in smaller things, like family, friends, career, health, etc. which should all have healthy doses of hope and trust, but with what, when it all boils down to it, is my soul consumed...or should I say, with whom is my soul consumed? The answer is in this verse, "Put your hope in God." When we find ourselves to be downcast or disturbed, the imperative verb is there, which is an instruction and requires action from us: put...do it...set it there...keep it there. Easier said than done, for sure. But I have found over and over that if I follow this guide, the results and experience are proved out as it says in Ps. 62:1-2,5-7:
"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken...Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.
In Oswald Chamber's book, My Utmost for His Highest, for the May 31 entry titled "Put God First", he writes, based on John 2:24-25, "Put Trust in God First. Our Lord never put His trust in any person. Yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, and never lost hope for anyone, because He put His trust in God first. He trusted absolutely in what God's grace could do for others. If I put my trust in human beings first, the end result will be my despair and hopelessness toward everyone. I will become bitter because I have insisted that people be what no person can ever be--absolutely perfect and right. Never trust anything in yourself or in anyone else, except the grace of God."
This is what I tried to tell Sean, in my feeble way. I said that I don't put my hope in the government. I told him that things will be alright (I even promised it would be so...), I told him that I put my hope in God, that he had people who loved him and he could put his hope in God or his higher power (that is where I chickened out...) and that it will all be okay. As we sat in front of his house, he asked, "Are you sure?" I told him yes, because I have hope, hope in God. He said, "well, ok," and as he got out of the car, he hesitated, standing with the door open, and with a slight smile, he again said, "Okay."
Here's to hope that is part of our building our lives on the Firm Foundation, so that we can really take hold of the life that is truly life.
"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God." Ps. 146:5