“You’d lose your head if it wasn’t attached to you!”
This was a constant refrain coming from my mother’s mouth as I was growing up. Toys, clothes, homework, retainers, important papers – you name it, I lost it! As long as I’ve had the ability to do it – I’ve been losing stuff.
And it hasn’t gotten much better with age.
Seriously! I need one of those GPS locator systems for my keys, phone, sunglasses, wallet and purse – those everyday items that seem to magically grow legs and walk away every time I put them down!
Most of the time, I can retrace my steps and find what I’m looking for pretty easily. But every once in a while, I really lose something. And when it’s one of those necessities I listed above, I go into full-on worst-case-scenario panic mode!
Thankfully, though, I happen to be married to an incredibly rational and level-headed husband, who is constantly reminding me that whatever it is isn’t lost, it’s just been misplaced.
And of course, he’s always right. It may take some patience and effort, but our misplaced items always turn up somewhere!
When you look around at our world, especially over the past couple of months there is definite reason for worry, fear, and even panic. Mass shootings, suicide bombers, plane crashes, a refugee crisis, protests and riots, and, of course, divisive political debate. There are many days where I don’t even want to click on my news app because I just don’t want to know. Some days I even feel like hope is being lost.
But maybe it’s not actually lost, maybe it’s just being misplaced.
During this advent season, we dwell on what it means that God Himself came to earth. He came to this place to “shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:79). He came to give hope.
This baby was a sign to God’s people that He had not abandoned them. The birth of Jesus was a clear message that God was still working and still in control – even when it didn’t seem like it. Jesus’ life and death would prove the fullness of the Father’s compassion, and His resurrection would give us a vivid picture of a victorious God who will never fail – and who has the power to defeat even death itself.
That same hope that Jesus came to shine into the darkness is still available to us today. It’s a 100% rock-solid, never-changing hope that – no matter what we see happening around us – the very same God who came to earth to defeat sin and death has not lost an ounce of His power.
Psalm 33:17 says, “A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.” One of our greatest temptations is to misplace our hope by trusting in the “horses” of this world. There are many varieties and breeds of these “vain hopes” – comfort, safety, pride, our opinions, and our own illusions of control, to name a few.
Verse 22 then goes on to say: “May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” The word “put” implies action! To “put our hope” in God means there is an intentional act of our will to place our hope in the right place. Then, it won’t get lost.
A few days ago, I had a ‘light bulb’ moment. I grabbed a basket and set it on the table at the top of the stairs just as you walk in the door to our house. It occurred to me that maybe if I had something in which to proactively “put” my everyday items right when I walk in the door, I might not misplace them as often!
So far, it’s working – my sunglasses, keys, wallet and whatever else haven’t been lost since. It’s only been a few days, but I’m developing a new habit that’s going to prevent a whole lot of panic.
I’m also developing another new habit – reading and copying down a verse of praise from the Bible every morning. It’s my way of intentionally placing my hope in God and who He is before my day even starts and before the temptations to put my hope in other things even arise. I don’t want to mindlessly misplace my hope anymore!
Father, I choose today to put all of my hope in You. In spite of the darkness that surrounds me, shine the light of Your presence, power, and unfailing love so brightly that I don’t even see the other options! Amen.