An Arsenal of Hope

Each soul has its own distinct soundtrack, a series of melodies and lyrics that run through it in the middle of the night and under the wide open blue sky. The words whisper deep truths (or lies), the music beats or thrums or whirrs or tinkles or screams, and our lives match the cadence and cacophony. Our soul soundtracks run endlessly, but what we focus on over a long period of time can change the content.

As we dwell on the concept of hope this month, I invite you to build a little arsenal all your own. It could be a shoebox or a room, a desk drawer or an online space—just somewhere you can store weapons for the war against hopelessness. You might choose to fill it with music that moves you or glossy pictures from magazines or long-forgotten poetry that points to more. Tuck in some poignant quotes and meaningful art and pieces of nature. Cover it all with Scripture. Whenever you lose sight of what’s coming, that glorious day and the thousands of glimpses you’ll get of it between now and then, go to your arsenal and remember. The longer you dwell on hope, the more your soundtrack will shift to the rhythms of heaven. You will literally change your tune.

One of humanity’s biggest issues is forgetfulness. Joseph Kerr calls us “gospel sieves,” leaking out the fullness of what we know as we go about our lives, leaving a trail of truth behind us that never quite made its way into who we most deeply are. Your family needs you to remember hope, to remind them of it. Visit over dinner about where their hope lies, what it looks like right now. Help them see it in vibrant colors and with surround sound. Put little memory joggers around your home to keep your heart returning to what is true, especially in trigger areas. Hate what you see in the mirror? Put up a card with Psalm 139:14 on it (and follow that up with 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Tend to get depressed in the same spot? Frame a picture of your family on a good day and display it there.

Your friends, too, need help getting a firm grasp on the fact that these momentary troubles are not the reality of forever. The struggle at work will end, the baby will sleep through the night, the marriage tension will ease, the budget will loosen, the unrelenting housework will cease. Sometimes the relief comes this side of heaven, and other times we just have to wait for it. But keeping perspective will make a world of difference in a time when we are challenged to live our best life now. Matt Chandler advises asking, “How will I feel about this pain 10,000 years from now?” When we all sit down and feast together and remember the goodness of God, chances are the minor irritations will be forgotten and the darkest storms of our life will only point to God’s care for us. This is a colossal shift away from our instantaneous society; it reorients our hearts to the truth. We will outlast this pain. Joy comes in the morning. Encourage your friends to latch onto the hope of Christ no matter what. It’s the only thing that will come true in the end.

So as you finish up your Christmas shopping and baking and cleaning and preparing, keep an eye out for little bunches of freshly-picked hope. Bring them together and build up your storehouse. After all, ’tis the season to remember.

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