In First grade I did my first Science experiment. Our teacher provided each of us with a box, some garden soil and a Bean Seed. We were each instructed to plant our seed on either the right or the left side of the box. All of our boxes were taken to a shelf by the window and covered with cardboard lids. I had planted my seed to the right but my lid only allowed sunlight into the left side of the box. Each day we went to the window to record our observations.
A small sprout appeared after several days. Each day it grew higher, but it was not just growing out of the soil it was growing towards the light. My seed was planted in the dark but it could feel the light. It was stretching towards the light. It turned out that all the seeds in all the boxes were growing towards the light. Here is what I began to learn that day peering into the boxes with the bean sprouts. Living things are hungry for light. They lean and reach and stretch for it even when they are in the dark, especially when they are in the dark.
Human hearts have a strong pull towards the light as well. Our hearts reach and yearn towards the fullness and warmth of a bright future,
a good forecast, a happy ending. We are hungry for light, particularly when we are in the dark.
In the dark, we cannot not hope for better things. Our fears and our desires pour out from deep places. Places that we did not know were in us and did not want to know. Hope emerges from these dark places with an upward trajectory. It offers us the possibility of something better. This is the visible, tangible, above ground dimension of hope. This is a kind of Hoping For…… some good, important, critical thing.
There is another kind of Hope that is invisible. It is below ground. It is birthed from the same seed that launched the sprout into the light. This is the Root of Hope. These roots of hope press down into the dark soil. They ground the sprout in its upward climb. They feed and sustain the developing plant. This part of Hope remains unseen and essential.
This Root of Hope is not anchored in an outcome but in a person. It is not centered on what we hope for but whom we hope in.
Hoping In, does not pull us up, it draws us down to deeper places. This is the kind of Hope that can live in the dark, it is a Gospel Hope.
A Gospel Hope does not a claim to know answers or outcomes.
It does not require us to self-generated happy talk in the face of hard circumstance.
It does not ask us to cover up or look away from the hard or the horrible bearing down on us.
It is not a passive theory of well-being.
It is not a Zen Garden of tranquility and incense.
It is not a sanitized version of our past or an inspirational projection of our future.
It is clear eyed and laser focused on both the past and current reality. Hope never sees less than what is really there, but it often sees more.
Our hope is not in hope.
A hope that is grounded in itself will ultimately collapsed on itself.
Our hope is in the source that makes hope possible.
This Hope is not generated by a Perspective but by a Person.
Only a Living Hope can keep Hope Alive in the dark.
And in Christ we have been given a Living Hope.
Stay Reaching for the Light, Stay Rooted in the Dark.
This is a Hope that the world does not generate and cannot take away.
When we lose our grip on this Living Hope,
when we loose our strength to hold onto it,
This Hope will hold onto us.
If you missed the Post from Wednesday please give it a quick read.
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Grace and Peace,
Dr. Don Worcester