In his book, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, Rob Bell says, "Everybody follows somebody." He explains that when discussing what matters most to us, the question is not whether you believe or don't believe, whether you have faith or don't have faith. The question is what do you believe? Where do you place your faith? We all put our hope in something or someone.
Many people put their hope in themselves. They believe in their own strength to solve the problem, to write their story, to prevail. Some people put their faith in a soul mate. They believe that this person's love and devotion will "save them" from dying alone, wasting away, amounting to nothing. Other people hope that money, government, religion, healthy living, destructive living, is the way to survive, maybe even to thrive in this life.
I put my hope in God, or at least I thought I did, until my own pastor changed my mind on Easter Sunday. That morning Rev. Jason Poling preached a sermon entitled, "Hope in the Midst of Cluelessness," the final sermon in his Lenten series, "Hope: New and Otherwise." In it he said something along the lines of, "Our hopes don't fit into our idea of God because we have no idea. We think we are hoping in God, but our idea is wrong."
So, let me start again: I try to put my hope in God, I hope my hope is in Him. I think, more often than not, I am still putting my faith in myself, or my family, or even (yikes) this crazy world. Jason is right. My idea of God is way more simple than God is. I probably offend God with my tiny view of Him. And while it may feel a bit disconcerting to believe in someone so overwhelming that He is the beginning and the end, the singular entity of everything, it fills me with great hope. Praise God, He doesn't have to fit into the cramped box I have built for Him.
Many people put spiritual belief in a box. Maybe the box is called Saturday or Sunday, or a certain religious holiday, or when Grandma is around. Even the most devout put God in a box by separating with certainty the secular from the sacred. I say we let God bust out of that box and into every little nook and cranny we can manage to allow.
On that same Easter Sunday, before Jason spoke, our worship team led us in singing "I Will Wait" from Mumford & Sons newest album, Babel.
I came home
Like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of dust
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new sun
And I'll kneel down
Wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground
I will wait, I will wait for you! And I will wait, I will wait for you!
So break my step
You forgave and I won't forget
Know what we've seen
And him with less
Now in some way, shake the excess
Cause I will wait, I will wait for you! And I will wait, I will wait for you!
Now I'll be bold
As well as strong
Use my head alongside my heart
So take my flesh
And fix my eyes
That tethered mind free from the lies
God shows up in this song, in every nook and cranny of it. When I sing it, I sing it for Him. I may not be able to even begin to understand all that He is, has been and will be. But, I want to try. Anyone with a soul can't help stomp their feet and clap their hands to this song. When you sing it, who are you waiting for?
Listen to "I Will Wait"
Listen to "Hope in the Midst of Cluelessness"
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