I am, nearly always, at least half-full. Always have been. I hope to always be. It’s easy to be a cynic. Anyone can stand in the corner and ask questions, poke holes, go against the grain. It takes courage, though, to believe. To stand strong. To have faith. And trust. And hope.
In that, I am strong. And courageous. And growing.
But I’ve also been learning something else about myself recently. Despite all my greatest hopes, I am still empty at times. Unsatisfied. Unfulfilled. Missing it. Not having eyes to see the good that God is doing. Not having ears to hear the way that God is calling.
Hope is beautiful. Powerful. Effective.
But I’m learning that hope is not the end of the road. It’s not the goal or the destination. It may be life giving, but it is not going to give me the opportunity to really feel God’s pull in my life. Hope needs a companion for it to really break through. And I’m not talking about faith or love.
I am hopeful for my marriage, that God will continue to grow my love for my wife. That we will learn everyday how to love each other more.
I am hopeful for my son, that God will raise him up into a man after God’s own heart. That Abe will be strong and healthy. That he will be a leader. That he will be loved, recklessly, by his parents.
I am hopeful for my friends and family that don’t know Christ, that God will reach out to them through me or others. That they will know Him in an intimate way. That their faith will become real and rooted. That love will win.
I am hopeful for the students God has put in front of me, that they will grow into mature believers. That their lives will reflect God’s glory. That camps and trips and church and small groups and leaders and teachers and worship and everything else will reach out to them. That they will see the need for God in their lives.
I am hopeful for hardship in my family’s lives, that God will use suffering and difficulty to make them strong and tested in their faith. That goodness and kindness and perseverance will be victorious. That Christ will be glorified mightily in their day-to-day troubles.
I am hopeful in all of this. Ridiculously, painfully, endlessly hopeful. Perhaps to a fault.
I am not prayerful.
My prayer life is shallow and sorry and slim. It’s the first part of my life with Christ that I let slip. A friendship can’t grow without communication. Imagine not calling a dear loved one for days and days and days. And when you do call, imagine asking for a laundry list of needs and then hanging up quickly. Imagine doing this over. And over. And over.
God is still working in my life in great ways. He is endless in his provision. He is perfect in his execution. But I am endlessly and perfectly missing such a great part of the story. Over and over and over again, God is good. Right in front of my face. And I am surprised to see it. Or, worse, unable to see it. Because I wasn’t in on the process. I didn’t allow myself to be. The opportunity was there, but my eyes were closed. My heart was open, but I hadn’t pumped any blood in that direction to get it beating. To be a part of God’s nourishment. Him giving life. Me joining in.
Instead, I find myself on the sideline. Waiting for a break in the action before I’m ready to join.
Hope is necessary. Impossible to live without.
But, even more so, is prayer. I’ve been living without it. For quite some time. But I haven’t really been living, have I? I’ve just been moving. With a heart in slow motion and eyes and ears squinted and covered.
I am hopeful.
I am hopeful that my hope will not be empty.
I am hopeful that my hope will be accompanied by hope’s greatest strength.
Authentic, sincere, real prayer.
Life. Giving. Prayer.