Such a simple lesson really...but for me, it was a game changer. Or at the very least, a major attitude changer. And don't we all need that?
I was walking with Mr. B on the greenway. And as usual, he'd managed to find himself a fine, big stick. Life's simple pleasures!
"It's always better to walk in hope."
Wow, I needed to hear that. Anybody else? Let me explain--
You see, I'd started to become one of those people who tries to steel myself against disappointment by preparing for the worst outcome. Yes, yes, I know this is absolutely NOT how a woman who loves the Lord of all grace and goodness should ever think or behave, but there it is.
As I think back, I believe it had slowly developed into an ugly, hidden habit dating back to a few totally unexpected phone calls--one when my brother called to say our active, vibrant mama had suddenly collapsed and wasn't expected to survive. She went home to be with Jesus early the next morning. And then, about a month later, while we were all still reeling, here came another shocking phone call from the doctor telling us that our healthy, wonderful daddy had terminal cancer.
Suddenly the phone had become a dangerous, unpredictable enemy...and I began to answer it warily...worried and certain that something dangerous was lurking around the corner. That tendency was exacerbated following the phone call a few years later telling us our daughter had been in a terrible wreck.
So here's how I unconsciously began coping--expect the worst and then you won't be suddenly shocked or terribly disappointed. This could apply in all walks of life--from watching the Tar Heels play basketball ("They're down by 2...this game is over"--even though it was only 10 minutes into the first half. For pete's sake!)...to watching our boys play golf (one bad hole morphed into a potential catastrophe in my overwrought imagination. Geez.)...to a child not answering their phone while traveling out of town ("They must be lying by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere." Really? How does that help?).
But no matter how this ridiculous tendency got started, as Mary Norris and I chatted that afternoon, I realized how right, how wise, she was when she said, "If we're going to be disappointed, it doesn't make it any easier to try to prepare for it ahead of time. We'll be disappointed either way. But we can survive disappointment. So why not walk in hope?"
Seriously, why on earth not?! How does it help to adopt a posture of assuming the worst or preparing for disappointment? All it does is make you miserable in advance!
And that kind of preemptive worry or negativity does nothing--NOTHING!--to help you deal with a possible future disappointment or undesirable outcome, should it occur. All it does is drain the present of hope and joy and peace. But as redeemed children of the King of Kings, we are called to walk with hope, with joy, with faith in the One who has all, all, all things under His sovereign control and is working according to His perfect plans.
Yeah sure, the outcome may not be what we want...but no matter what, He will be there with us and for us, and He's promised to bring our ultimate good and His greater glory out of every circumstance. (Rom.10:28) We might sometimes be momentarily disappointed...but we'll never be deserted. And we need never be in despair, because we walk with the One who is Hope Incarnate.
So instead of walking in worry....or walking in dread...or even just walking in a disappointment-anticipating frame of mind, let's walk in hope! In fact, how about we walk in hope assuming the best, not the worst, and trust Him with whatever and however?
Our God lives and reigns...and He commands us to "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." (Rom.12:12)
By the grace of God and for His glory, let's walk in hope....because we walk with Him.
To God be the glory.