An Extravagant Hope

Have you ever read a story and not been sure if it was the happy-ending kind or the sad-ending kind? Or have you ever read one where the hero keeps getting into hopeless situations, and you can never see a way out of them but he always comes through? Or one where you've got a hunch that it's the happy-ending kind, but you're not sure how it could be, and you just have to trust that the hero's got a plan, and whatever it is, somehow it's going to work out?

I've got a feeling that the story of creation is that kind of story.

I couldn't tell you why. No good reason, I guess. Stupid hope, overoptimism, I don't know. But remember the story of Jesus, and how unexpected and strange and backwards it was? The Jews spent centuries waiting for him and studying what he'd be like, and they still didn't know him when they saw him. I don't think it was their fault either. I think God threw them a hell of a curve ball.

And remember the crucifixion? Even the people he explained it to weren't ready for it. They knew God was up to something with Jesus, but they had no idea how big it was. They had no idea how high the stakes were, and how far God would go to love us. And when they thought the story had come to a very bad end, in fact it was just the beginning of a very good ending - the best of any story yet. And the next surprise what that this story wasn't just for twelve guys, or a few hungry crowds, or one nation in need of deliverance; it was for all the people of the world, even all of creation. We never guessed the ending could be that good.

But lean close, and I'll tell you my secret hope:

I don't think we've seen the last twist yet. I don't think we yet know the best of God's plan. I just can't believe that he's come this far merely to snatch up a few fortunates, burn the rest, and start new. I believe in re-newal. I believe in redemption, and reconciliation, and reunion, and I believe in them bigger and deeper than I have any good reason to. You can call me greedy or starry-eyed, but there it is.

It's not that I see a whole lot of redemption in creation today. In fact I see a shocking amount of senseless pain and evil - things broken that can never be fixed, things lost that can never be restored. Longings without hope of fulfillment, pain without purpose, faith betrayed. But in God's plan (what I've seen of it so far) good things are always born out of broken ones. Even the perfect man was created in a carnal womb, and new life is given through the spilling of blood.

If I have a reason for believing that there's more to come, it's only that I see a whole lot of pain and evil in this world that has yet to be redeemed, and I can't help but think he's got a plan to work even these things for good.

I don't know how this world came to be so broken, and I certainly don't know how it could all be fixed. But "I know whom I've believed, and am convinced that he is able".

You're welcome to disagree with me, but that's my hope.


David Hengen said...

joel, i like what you got to say. i can't really begin to speculate what the future holds, but it you sure make it sound like it could be exciting.

Filth- Man said...

I share your hope, Jacob.

Michigan said...

i like this post joel

Wallace said...

I enjoyed this one too.

Krista said...

Well, I'm glad you agree with me.
You should have seen those children...

It's funny how quickly you can get comments when you post about something that other people can understand/relate to. Funny as in, awesome.
nice day to you.

Clockwork & Novelry said...

I am a child of this age; a child of unbelief and doubts and shall be to the very day when I am laid in my grave. This longing to believe has cost and still does cost me terrible torments; it is a longing that is all the stronger in my heart the more arguments I have against it. And yet God sometimes vouchsafes me moments during which I love and am loved by others; at such moments I have laid up in myself a symbol of faith in which everything is clear and sacred to me. It is: to believe that there is nothing more beautiful, more profound, more sympathetic, more reasonable, more courageous and more perfect than Christ. If anyone were to prove to me that Christ were outside the truth and that the truth was really outside Christ, I would rather remain with Christ than in the truth.

Michigan said...

that was very well stated Ryan