The Distinction Between In and For - Part 1
- Thursday, February 19, 2009
But neither can I encourage hopelessness. Our life in Christ is a hope for what we do not yet have, a desire to be what we are not—holy. So we hope always to be more like Christ this coming year than we were last year. We long to be more like Him tomorrow than we are today. We hope to be closer to Him in an hour than we are in this minute. And we can hope to be married this year if we are not today. It is okay to nurture this hope within the safety of His grace.
Here is my caution. Here is how I see hope in service of the believer. It is a prepositional distinction—the distinction between in and for.
Our faith in every way bleeds hope. Hope is evidenced even in the darkness of the cross. But if we hope, we hope not just for a husband or wife. We hope in a God who loves us and desires to bless us. We hope in God for the gift of a husband or wife. We can therefore hope for a husband or wife but never place our hope in a husband or wife. This is true before we are married and true if we get married.
The truth is husbands or wives can disappoint. We make our requests open with hands hoping that we will have what we desire because “God is love” and “love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8). What we dare not do is place our hope in a person or thing, husband or wife, for then we become as the foolish builder who built on sand. What will be our condition when the storms come—and the storms will come.
I meet person after person who have deep struggles in their walks with Christ due to failed human relationships. How can this be? It cannot be otherwise if hope is placed in the object, and that object becomes the source of hope itself. Then the failure of the relationship means that hope itself has failed us. It means that God has failed to obey our dreams, failed to conform to our hope—though misplaced.
But this is not hope, and it was never a good idea. No! Hope is placed in God for whatever He will bring to us. We confess this because we know He loves us. The object of our hope is merely a function of our desire. It is proper, but must keep its place. Nothing but God is our right. He is our inheritance. We hope for a relationship with the understanding that it is through His grace that we shall be blessed. I don’t deserve a wife, but hope that grace will provide. We will speak another time of my part in the play. What I know is that short of grace no relationship is truly a blessing.
The benefit of hope is the benefit of faith. It is the peace of knowing that while we are not always the people we are called to be, He is always a faithful Father who will not give a snake when we ask for bread. The benefit is a tempered approach that avoids desperation and thus—poor choices. It is tragic when the “ideal of marriage” is shattered and the real “relationship,” the real “person,” becomes too real. Hope then, rests in our God for His gracious blessings—whatever they may be. For it is He who calls us to “ask” and we ask according to His will (Matthew 7:7).
Hudson Russell Davis was born on a small Island in the West Indies called Dominica, and this is only one reason he does not like cold weather and loves guava. He is a graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in Graphic Design and earned a Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Currently he is a Ph.D. candidate at Saint Louis University studying historical theology. Hudson has worked as a graphic artist and worship leader but expresses himself through poetry, prose, photography, and music. His activities are just about anything outdoors, but tennis is his current passion.
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