Every so often, Hollywood offers a golden perspective on life. I think The Odd Life of Timothy Green is one such nugget.
The Greens receive a gift from their garden: the child they couldn’t conceive. The child, Timothy, teaches them about love, selflessness, and trust, which eventually enables them to let go of their expectations but still cling to hope. My favorite scene in the film is this:
“Have a great day” is apparently too much pressure. And I tend to agree.
Our culture calls this, “not getting our hopes up.” Stop caring. Become callused. Without hope, there might not be any disappointment. We all know disappointment is the enemy of hope… its crushes optimism, cloning all of humanity to being “realists”.
But Love tells us to hope. Love also tells us to endure.
1 Corinthians 13 says…
“love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)
Sounds a bit contradictory to me. When I am hopeful, I usually channel my hope toward positive things that will most likely happen. If the forecast says rain, I don’t hope for sunshine. I know I will end up disappointed by reality.
When I knowingly walk into a circumstance in which I know I will have to endure, I check hope at the door and brace myself for the coming opposition. I “have the day I have.”
Jon Acuff, author and speaker, writes, “In these moments, fear will try to hand you an apathy shield… What fear doesn’t tell you is that apathy forms a wall, but that same wall blocks you from joy, too.” *
In Christ, the pressure that Cindy Green speaks of, is off!
Do we trust that God is faithful? Do we believe He really has the best in mind for us? That “the day we have” is whatever He planned ahead for us to experience (barring any of our own sin getting in the way)?
The pain, the confusion, the waiting, the excitement, the joy, the changes—each are an agent of God’s will to bring us closer to Him, which will bring us the greatest satisfaction anyway! “Having the day you have” doesn’t just mean grit your teeth and bear it; it also requires hope and trust that “the day you have” is also the “great day” your Dad wished you before school.
When we operate from a heart of love, we can do both. We can say “have a great day” and “have the day you have” at the same time. Love enables us to hope and endure at the same time.
I am about to give birth for the first time. I have no idea what to expect. A huge part of me wants to carry an “apathy shield” to guard against disappointment in my birth experience. But my God has wooed me, convincing me to operate from a place of love, not fear. And so, I am hoping like I’ve never hoped before! But I also know that I will “have the birth that I have.” It will be everything God designed for me to experience; and I have confidence He knows what is best for me. So, in the end, it will be everything I hoped for, because my hope is in Christ, not my circumstances.
“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” Romans 8:24-25
I’d like to hear from you? Where have you raised your “apathy shield” to guard against hope? How do you plan to drop that shield to both hope and endure all things?
*from the article "Dreaming God-Sized Dreams, 3 Lies fear always tells you about your goals," in the January 2013 issue of Homelife (produced by Lifeway).