Courage, Dear Heart: A Lesson on Hope
“Courage, dear heart.”
-Aslan, The Voyage of the Dawntreader
Lucy was heading into a place of great darkness when these Aslan whispers were carried on the wind by a bird flying above her head. These same words are whispering now over me, too...
Courage, dear heart.
You don’t know what’s next. You don’t know why you’re here. But courage. Courage, dear heart, because I know.
If I know that He knows, and I believe that He loves me, and I’m convinced that all things are for my good (Rom. 8:28), then my heart should rise to meet the whisper flying on the wind, grabbing it with both hands as I breathe in the courage of knowing my God is near.
And that He can be trusted.
Today, I look at what’s in my hands. I look at my time and the things that I’m doing with it. And I don’t fully understand what it’s all about. Actually, I don’t really understand it at all. But with all the grit I can muster, I put my head down and I move forward and I write, because it’s all I know to do right now. This writing and this studying and this speaking truth. This loving my children, my husband, and my friends, and this taking it one day at a time and believing that there’s a purpose for this season, even though I don’t understand.
This season is different than the ones I’ve had before, but isn’t it funny how in every season we can find what’s wrong? In every season we can uncover heartache under a rock and then let it fall on top of us, thinking that our lives are over.
This is silly and crazy and yet it’s the human condition, isn’t it? Because oh, there’s this longing inside of us that just knows there is more. There’s so much more and we can feel it fleetingly in the breeze that blows through our hair, or in the smile of friend, or in the moving chorus of a song, but just as soon as we reach out to grab it, the more we tasted slips through our fingers and we wonder if it was something we simply imagined. Because isn’t hope the very thing that causes disappointment? If we hope for that fleeting more to take root in our lives on a more consistent basis, won’t we fall into despair when…
When it doesn’t?
So what is God trying to teach us in this aching and this reaching and this hoping and this falling into the aching again?
I think I know.
I think He’s trying to recalibrate our hope. Hope shouldn’t be centered around the fleeting whisper on the wind (even when it’s from Him), or our circumstances or situations (even when they are gifts from Him), or in the people we know and the victories we achieve (even though they were given by Him). True hope lies completely, solely, undeniably and unshakably in Him. In the Savior Himself. In who He is and the promises He’s made, and the absolutely incorruptible, extravagantly Loving character He is comprised of.
Oh wonderful God. Oh wonderful Savior. Who are You? Tell me who You are so I can recalibrate my hope and find this sure foundation to stand upon.
Maybe that’s the very place to start. The foundation. What are we told about this Rock on which we stand?
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 3:11, NLT
We know the old hymn, the words we sing without thinking about them…My hope is built on nothing less than JESUS’ blood and righteousness. When did we start thinking we could hope in our experiences of Christ? Our experience of Him is not Him. HE is Him. By His grace, we get to experience Him, but sometimes our senses get it all wrong, which is why we can’t lay any other foundation except for Him.
But haven’t we all messed this up? Haven’t we all at one time or another built a foundation of hope upon what we expect Jesus to do for us, on how we want Him to make us feel, on where we want Him to move, instead of just on Jesus Himself?
That’s why we shatter. That’s why we break. Because the thing we are standing on shifts unexpectedly, and we go down with it.
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” Matthew 7:24-25, NLT
His words are who He is, this One who spoke all the universe into existence did not waste the words He spoke as He walked on this earth. In fact, not one single letter of the inspired word that God Almighty has written by His breath into the Scriptures was put there by accident.
He is what He teaches, He is what He says (remember? In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1, NIV) and oh, this is the exciting part because He’s basically saying, pick up your Bible and come find out who I am! Here is an endless supply of hope to stand on!
Oh Jesus, Jesus, how can you be this unspeakably fun? I’m so grateful to have the Word here in my hands so I can put my roots down deep into the hope of Jesus encased within them. It is my honor and my privilege to sink into this Word, to let its promises and Your graces teeming in them to splash over me, wetting me completely in the extravagance of Your Love. When I look at the Word and I come face-to-face with the promises, it is so obvious, so clear, that this life will be full of unknowns – but that you can be known. I can see that I will have seasons of struggle and sacrifice – but you never leave me or forsake me. It’s written right there that I will face heartaches and trials – but somehow it’s exactly through those things that I get to discover your beauty. So even and especially in these trials we rejoice. Oh how we can rejoice! And we needn’t fear…no…no…we needn’t fear because no matter what storms and winds may blow, no matter how long the desert or how many hardships we endure, whether we have much or we have little, whether our friends stick by our sides or leave us…the hope of our God remains and we cannot be shaken.
Oh to plant my feet firmly on this truth and to never fall. This is the bedrock hope. The hope that doesn’t fail. The hope of the Word. The hope of the Promises. The Hope of God Himself.
So, then, how do we put this hope into practice? Let’s take a few steps today:
1. Look at your life. What are you hoping in, what are you hoping for? What is the thing that is the valve on your heart gauging your level of anxiety? Be honest, brutally honest with yourself and with the Lord. Ask Him to help you know and understand what it really means to place confident hope in Him alone.
2. Depending on your conclusions to the above – find scriptural promises that will combat the areas of anxiety that you have because you’ve put hope in the wrong things (like money, or a job, or your calling, or specific expectations about people or about the future). Write these down. Put them before your eyes and ask the Lord to be your hope in every area, but to especially reveal Himself to you in these places.
This year I pray that I truly learn what it means to be a person of HOPE, a person who has studied out the bedrock promises of God and stands on them. This year I pray I will grab hold of His whisper of, “Courage, dear heart,” knowing that He is telling me that He can be trusted, and even if I’m lost, confused, or suffering, He will be faithful to fulfill every single word He has spoken over, for, and about me. He will be exactly who He has promised to be. Every. Single. Time.
Will you join me in becoming a person of hope?? Tell me in the comments what areas of hope you struggle with…and I will pray together with you as you take this journey!!