My wife has told me of standing at the window as a little girl, suitcase packed, waiting for her daddy to show up for her. I can picture the sadness on her face as the evening settles and no headlights pierce the darkness. Even though she stopped staring out the window, her heart was still listening, wondering, waiting to see if maybe he would show up. Reality eventually takes hold of desire as she falls asleep with tears in her eyes, wondering why she is not worth loving. How many times does this happen before she stops packing the suitcase? Is that really what the process of “growing up” to adulthood is supposed to do – destroy our ability to have real hope for the deepest desires of our hearts?
Why does hope seem so elusive to us? Sometimes hoping feels like trying to grip sand. I am convinced that the root of the problem is that we’re hoping for the wrong things – hoping he will change his ways, hoping she will love me back, hoping they will not forget me, hoping for good health, good job, and an occasional family get-together without conflict. Hoping that this test will come back negative, hoping this interview will lead to a new job, hoping to start a family. The list of things we are hoping for, good and reasonable things to hope for, could fill pages. But, it seems that reality always trumps hope. Nothing ever really satisfies the desire deep within us. When we get what we thought we wanted, desire is still there, still wanting more. And so we learn (or more accurately – we convince our hearts) that hoping is not really worth it, that the more we give way to desire and hope, the more we set ourselves up for disappointment.
Honestly, it is not surprising to me that the enemy of our hearts has worked so hard at destroying our ability to hope. Hope is what keeps us from giving up. Hope is what helps us to hang on for one more day, one more hour, on more minute. If this life here on earth is really all we have, then this hope-less path seems like the most sensible and mature way to approach our time. “No need to get your hopes up.” “Let me tell you, I’ve been burned one too many times.”
But, what if, just maybe, this life is not all-there-is. What if, just pretend for a moment if you need to, that we were made for more than this. What if the stories that stir your heart, the movies that make your eyes water, where the hero comes in and rescues the helpless, where the hopeless have their dreams delivered, what if those are a reflection of the bigger life that we were made for. What if those tiny bursts of joy we experience in our first kiss, our first time hearing “you’re hired”, the cry of our first baby, whatever moment in time you wish you could freeze forever, what if we were made for knowing that kind of deep love and joy forever? If you knew that, if you were convinced of it, certain that it was true, how would it change things for you?
This is what we believe – that we were made for more than this. What we celebrate at Christmas, the arrival of hope, the birth of Jesus, is meant to be the proof of this. God promised he would make a way for man to be reunited with him, for the relationship to be restored. He sent his son, Jesus, to live and to die as proof that the promise was real, so that we could put all-our-hope on him. The writer of Hebrews wanted us to know how certain and solid the promise was when he wrote, ”We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” The word picture here is awesome, an anchor, something that keeps a boat in one place despite the turmoil of the water around it. The boat stays because the anchor stays.
In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” Our message to young people who come to the Lighthouse is that you can find hope in this world today by believing that there is hope in a bigger / better world for-ever and that following Jesus is the way to that for-ever life that we were created for. However you celebrate this season, I urge you to consider what the gifts, the parties, the decorations, what it all is supposed to remind us of: a child-like hope for a promise to be fulfilled.
In November we paid a deposit for the construction of The Lighthouse Youth Outreach Center in Bunker Hill. We sincerely thank all of you that are supporting us with financial gifts, we could not have done this without you. This coming year will be an exciting one as we begin construction of the building shell in the spring and hopefully finish the inside of the building during the summer and fall. We (the Edgington’s) are anxious to move the ministry out of our home and into its own place. If you’d like to help us by getting involved in the construction or maybe even joining the Lighthouse team, please contact me at chris@LHBH.org or 765-271-6687. If you’d like to help financially, you can give online through our website or you can send gifts to The Lighthouse, PO Box 336, Bunker Hill, IN 46914. For more information about our vision for this outreach, you can read our past newsletters on our website at www.LHBH.org.
We hope for a peaceful and joyful Christmas season for you – Merry Christmas!,
Chris Edgington, Director