“But I’m trying not to get my hopes up.”
It’s a tag line I hear often, assuming one is brave enough to say the wild, crazy thing that maybe, might just happen. It’s a caveat I insert myself, just to level the ground of expectation and potential reality.
Because let’s be honest, worst-case scenario is not not getting what we hope for. We deal with that all the time. Worst-case scenario is people knowing it. People knowing that we wanted something badly, and it didn’t work out.
And so we lie.
We say we aren’t excited about the job. We say we aren’t trying for the baby. We say we aren’t interested in the boy. We say we don’t care what school we get accepted to or what scholarships we are offered. We dilute our desires and muddle down our longings.
I was curling my hair early on a Sunday morning not long ago, my mind wandering to dreams for upcoming adventures and ministry potential. I was letting myself get carried away before quickly chiding myself “not to get my hopes up.”
And ya know, it’s not too often that I hear the voice of God so undeniably. But with half my head still looking much like a lioness, as I slowly curled it piece by piece into something presentable, it came so clearly:
“I want you to get your hopes up, Gwen. It’s one of my favorite things. Have you forgotten? I am the God of Hope.”
The God of Hope.
The God who loves it when our dreams seems unattainable. The God who delights when we desire things that haven’t come to pass. The God who let’s us wait and anticipate because it draws us closer and closer to Him in the process.
There is a cavern of God’s character that you will simply not experience if you refuse to hope. You could stifle deep desires and still see them fulfilled. But you will miss tender, dear moments with the God who loves it when you hope.
Here’s the thing about hope: it stops being hope the moment it becomes tangible.
“Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:24-25
The moment you’re offered the job. The moment the girl says, “Yes.” The moment the word “pregnant” appears as you sit anxiously on the bathroom floor.
And this is what I’m learning: The more honest we are about what exactly we’re hoping for, the more glory our sweet King Jesus will get. The more honest you are about what you hope to see happen the more your tribe can enter into it with you. Whether in mourning or in celebration.
Mourning. It sucks. And it’s hard. It’s painful. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” (Proverbs 13:12) But I am convinced that mourning alone for the thing you refused to acknowledge as a genuine desire is exponentially more painful than mourning with your people for the thing you boldly hoped for.
And I’m just as sure that celebrating alone for the thing you were afraid to want is just a fraction of the fun it is when your home team knows what you’ve been hoping for and shows up with champagne and party hats when that thing comes to pass.
Hope is scary. It’s a world of unknowns. It is pages of “maybes” and “if onlys.” And it’s terrifying. But I’m convinced that it leads us to experience the heart of God in an immeasurably precious way.
It is worth the risk. It’s worth the wait. Cause you just can’t out hope the God of Hope. You can’t out dream Him. You can’t out imagine Him.
So, “May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
Get your hopes up because it’s the genuine desire of your heart.
Get your hopes up because it honors God.
Get your hopes up knowing some of them will never come to pass.
Just get your hopes up.