Friday, October 23, 2009

hope is scary sometimes

        Did you know that we use the word "hopefully" incorrectly most of the time? For example, we might say "hopefully, I will win the lottery." But hopefully is an adverb, which means that word must be used to describe an action. To analyze the parts of speech of that sentence, you must ask yourself: how will you win?And the answer to that question is not "hopefully." I know, who cares. Other than me anyway. ;-) We all know that "hope" is a verb, as in "I hope it doesn't rain tonight." But I feel like we never mean it as much of an action. Are you really hoping? Merriam-Webster defines hope as "to expect with confidence." Hope is scary, though. You're expecting something with confidence, which sets you up to come crashing down if something doesn't happen as expected.
        This is something we've had to face recently with IV at Millersville because our dorm talks didn't go as expected. We had high hopes that God was going to move in huge ways. Betsy had been praying for 15 people to come to each dorm talk. And that didn't happen... So what does that mean for us? We didn't even come close to that. I walked onto campus that night thinking that dorm talks were going to change my world. And they didn't. So if I'm being honest, yeah, I was disappointed. At our leadership team meeting last week, Betsy asked, why didn't God do more? Then a student asked, do we think God didn't do enough? So I've been wrestling with this a lot. Why didn't God do what we thought He wanted to do at dorm talks? And the default answer is that God didn't want to do what we thought He did; He had something else in mind. But I don't like cliche, default answers.
       But I think our disappointment just shows that we desire for God to do big things. There is so much healing to be done in this world, and we long for it. We long for God to heal every heart at Millersville, and so yes, we are always hoping that He will do more. So there's a balance between praising God for what He has done and waiting expectantly for Him to do more.
        Hope is scary sometimes. That's what my friend Joy said the other day. I asked if she thinks she will get back together with Joe because they had broken up two days prior, and she said that she does, but hope is scary. Expecting something with confidence? Definitely scary.
        My friend Sarah said something to me and another friend, Dana Beth, about showing the new International Justice Mission film at Millersville, and we all agreed that we want to make the event happen. And I am feeling so excited and hopeful that God is going to bless this event and open people's perspectives to learn about modern-day slavery. In the midst of being excited, I remembered last night about the previous experiences I have had with trying to plan IJM events. Last semester, we had a women's violence awareness week, something like that... and as part of the week, I planned showing the movie Holly, which is a movie about slavery. And no one showed up. I had to remind myself that it wasn't anything personal; people were just disinterested. But it sucked. So I thought last night, oh no! What if no one shows up again?! For a split second, I thought maybe I didn't want to go through with planning this event. It's easy to be skeptical after facing disappointment, but I pray this would not be the case for IV at Millersville. I pray that we would try to have outreach events again, and that we would hope for God to move. And I pray that, above all, we would just always remember what God said to Job when Job questioned his circumstances. "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation..." Check out Rob Bell's Nooma video about Job entitled Whirlwind. He goes through God's whole response, and it's really crazy to hear it all out loud.
        I saw this quote that said, "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end." That's the truth isn't it, that God will restore everything. It will be okay in the end. Hopefully, I wait on the Lord. And it's not scary when I'm hoping for Him because He will do more. After really long conversation about the dorm talks and our disappointment, one student, Wes, said that he felt God asking him, "If you were doing this for My glory, why are you upset? Because I'm not."

1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:
 2 “I know that You can do everything,
      And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
 3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
      Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
      Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Job 42:1-3

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