Shades of Hope

God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:17-20 NLT

My teeth…they have issues. Actually, my entire mouth has problems. For starters, it is small. So small that my dental hygienist uses the child-sized equipment to clean and X-Ray my teeth, but even with the special tools, the process is cumbersome at best.

Another oddity is that several of my adult molars never properly formed. When my baby teeth gave out in my twenties, two gaping holes remained. My minuscule mouth will not enable a dentist the room needed to insert implants.

And, there is more. My two upper front teeth once overlapped one another, a bottom incisor is chipped, my roots are deemed abnormally long, I had an overbite, and I’m slightly tongue-tied.

Due to my myriad of mouth maladies, several dentists, orthodontists, periodontists, endodontists, and oral surgeons, issued advice on how they could fix my teeth and present me with a sparkling, healthy, and perfect smile.

I have had retainers, spacers, braces, root canals, crowns, fillings, and extractions. I turned down two recommendations to have my jaw broken and reshaped.

What struck me as strange while absorbing all the advice, was the conflicting opinions of the professionals. Each orthodontist I interviewed prior to braces offered me differing treatment plans. Some championed implants and root canals, others did not. Some told me that my wisdom teeth would never cause me problems, others disagreed and urged me to remove the potentially pesky third molars.

Each professional offered hope, and choosing between subtle shades proved challenging.

The world in which we live…it has issues, and varying opinions as to how to resolve or not resolve these issues.

There is war and downheartedness. There is hunger and loneliness. There are diseases that destroy bodies and deceptions that break apart families. There are sexual predators and there are victims. Drug abuse and alcoholism rages on. Murder and hate crimes claim mothers and fathers. Divorce and abortion are considered positive alternatives.

Modesty is frowned upon while promiscuity is hailed a right. Money is the modern day Baal. Power is sought after and fought for, while those weaker are devoured. Happiness is demanded, even though those seeking it have no idea what they are searching for.

Hearts are trampled. Dreams are buried. Truth is skewed. Peace is sacrificed. Spirits are crushed. Hope is rejected.

Does it seem strange that I wrote the words hope and rejected in the same sentence? After all, hope has been a popular buzz word. Everyone wants it.

The trouble rests in the fact that not everyone understands how to find it. Hope does not reside in the economy of a nation and it does not stand on the shoulders of leaders. Hope cannot be found in a political ideology, in the security of a job, or in a solid education.

Hope…pure, impassioned, life-altering, strength-sustaining, contagious hope… is found in Jesus and in His victory over death. While the world has lots of answers, He’s the only right one. He’s the true color of hope and all the other shades are just misleading.

This concept once seemed abstract to me. When traveling a tough road, I would often think something like, “I do believe in Jesus and have hope that everything will be good one day, and know that I will live life in Heaven when this one is over…but I still have to live now. I still have to pay bills that I have no money to pay. I still have to deal with difficult people who stir a sadness in me that aches my soul. I still make mistakes and as a result have so many messes to clean up.”

But Jesus quietly and gently hushes the “I stills” and replaces then with a resounding “Be still….Be still and know me.”

It is then when I can clearly see the vividness of hope and not just a muddied shade. When I take the time to reread His promises, and reflect on His word and His character, it is then that I am reminded that somehow it will all work out. And even with the “stills”, I will be better than OK.

Often, His solutions do not coincide with the values and methods of our culture..and that is scary. But the peace and the hope comes in knowing that His intervention…will work…that He is enough, more than enough. And if we open our hearts fully to Him and to that truth, we will see it. In full color. And it will bring joy.

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:12-13 NIV)

3 Responses to Shades of Hope
  1. gretchen
    March 25, 2009 | 11:54 am

    I can’t relate wholly to you difficulties, Angela, though I do call myself the crown(ed) princess. I’m no stranger to the root canal. But some of the first memories of my mom were of her with cheeks stuffed with bloody gauze after (yet another) extraction. Her genes and well water did her no favors either.

    How great that, yet again, you manage to turn your pain into an area for God to be praised.

  2. Wendi J McCallum
    March 25, 2009 | 12:49 pm

    Good stuff, as usual Angela! I love reading your perspectives.

    Although, I am sorry to hear about all of your tooth troubles. I have had braces, spacers, and I actually did opt for the jaw break and reset. 🙂 Good times… 🙂

  3. Jennifer
    March 28, 2009 | 8:30 pm

    Angela, thanks again for relating your life to Christ and the hope we can have in Him:) Hope your teeth are healed up by now!