Grace and Hope

Grand Teton from the top of Table Mountain in Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Wyoming

Grand Teton from the top of Table Mountain in Jedediah Smith Wilderness, Wyoming

We’ve been talking the last couple weeks about extending grace to others and calling them higher rather than trying to mold those people and situations to fit our expectations.  A MeWe friend commented,

 

“We live in hope, not expectation. In truth we do not know what will happen next & experience teaches us to be wary of the unexpected turn of events we call life. We live in hope, a hope that does not disappoint.”

Beartooth Mountains from near the Beartooth Highway, Wyoming

Beartooth Mountains from near the Beartooth Highway, Wyoming

He brought up an excellent point: Not only do we live in a place of grace so that we can extend grace when the situation requires it, but we also live in hope.

Along the Tonto Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Along the Tonto Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Hope and expectation are often thought of as being similar, but they are very different.  Expectation says, “Per my experience, I expect such-and-such to be the case.”  Or maybe, “I’d like it to turn out this way, or for someone to act that way.”  Hope says, “I know what experience dictates, and I’m not discounting that, but I have faith in something bigger and better.  I know Whose I am, and that changes everything.”

Grand Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Grand Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Our hope is not in an outcome.  If it was, it would disappoint us when the outcome was different than our expectations.  That kind of hope is expectation, not true hope.  It’s not necessarily sinful, but it’s also not true hope.

Sunrise on the Grandview Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Sunrise on the Grandview Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Our hope is in God and in God’s goodness.  We may not know how the current situation will end.  We know the end of the end, but we haven’t gotten there yet.  Still, we have hope in God’s goodness in every situation.

The Delaware River from Mount Minsi, Pennsylvania

The Delaware River from Mount Minsi, Pennsylvania

Knowing that hope will not disappoint us (Romans 5:5) – because God is good and will always be good – we can continue to hope in the darkest place.  I was listening the other day to a preacher whose family was evacuated from their home three times last summer because of one the most destructive wildfires in US history was racing toward their house – then a second wildfire – then a third wildfire, all in one summer.  So many of his friends lost their homes, lost everything but each other.  But in that time, in the disillusionment, destruction, and the “what are we going to do now?”, there was still hope because their hope wasn’t in an outcome; it was in the goodness of God.

Along the Door Trail in Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Along the Door Trail in Badlands National Park, South Dakota

At times, extending grace to those around us is really just extending hope.  There are people I deal with on a near-daily basis who require a lot of grace – when I give them grace, I’m not just allowing them to be who they are at the moment without trying to mold them into my pre-determined destiny for their lives or their day today, but I’m extending hope to them.  Hope that though I can accept them as they are, that God has a bigger and better plan for their future, hope that God’s goodness will bring us both through with flying colors.

Meadows along the trail to Hidden Lake in North Cascades National Park, Washington

Meadows along the trail to Hidden Lake in North Cascades National Park, Washington

Because when you get right down to it, you can’t extend grace without hope, the hope that doesn’t disappoint.