Another day, another night. Wake up, get the kids breakfast, go do some work, eat lunch, work some more. Come home, eat dinner, talk to Maile. Bedtime, supervise the brushing of teeth. Go into the room 6,723 times to say, “Be quiet.” Write some more before bed. Fall asleep while reading Brennan Manning on the glowing screen of my phone, in the dark.
In the dark.
Day after day passes, and I realize I can get by with much less than I thought. Week after week slips into the rear view, and my inner self adjusts to this new, lower watermark of comfort. But if I’m not careful, the trust in God that I long to experience gives way to a sense of malaise, and a feeling of calloused contentment.
Oh well, it is tempting to think, this must be as good as it gets. Perhaps the most difficult part about this life of faith is to keep from mistaking callousness for trust. A numbing lack of worry isn’t trust. True trust in God is so much more than finding a comfortable equilibrium.
“Faith in God without hope in his promises is tainted trust,” writes Brennan Manning in Ruthless Trust.
Faith without hope relegates faith to a coping mechanism. It can turn faith into nothing more than 4 1/2 hours of television each day (the national average). It can be my pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
But faith with hope? That’s what injects joy into this walk. Faith with hope feels vulnerable, tender to the touch, like fingertips freshly healed from a burn. Faith with hope means staying vulnerable when I want to withdraw, truthful when I’d rather deceive, unmasked. Faith with hope appears naive to many of those around us.
Poor little child, they mumble to one another. He still thinks he can make a difference. He still has confidence that he can do great things. He still believes.
I do. I have to believe. I have to hope. Because faith without hope is tainted trust, and I’ve felt real trust, perhaps only for moments in my life, but I’ve felt it. And I want to live in that space, not of calloused apathy, but of tender, vulnerable hope.
How do you keep hoping?