Scripture to reflect upon: Zechariah 9:12
“Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.”
I am trapped by hope. And sometimes--okay, most of the time--it’s infuriating.
Being a prisoner entails a longing for the day you get released, but during the duration of time imprisoned, you feel utterly trapped and confined.
I’m hoping for many things to change in my life. I have even stepped out on faith—that high wire, tight rope—believing that by doing so, it will speed up my parole and release. And when I’m not, it’s as if I’ve been handcuffed before a jury deciding my fate, stamping my papers: DENIED!
Being a prisoner can feel lonely. Minutes feel like hours, hours feels like days, and days feel like years. Years…feel like an eternity. The waiting becomes unbearable. Friedrich Nietzsche, a 19th-century German philosopher, poet and classical philologist, describes it best: “Hope is the worst of the evils, for it prolongs the torment of man.” So why, then, would God ask us to be “prisoners of hope”?
I want to scream daily, “God, when?!” Instead of rebuking me or leaving me, He instead shows me glimmers of hope. He begins to show me, step by step, how he has answered my prayers. They just didn’t come in the fancy wrapped boxes I had hoped for. God will keep His word, but we should be fully aware that it won’t always look how we had envisioned it to be.
We pay rent to my mom who owns our home. Our rent consists of the mortgage payment, house insurance, and an estimated amount for property tax at the end of the year. When I told her we didn’t have the full amount, she didn’t bat an eye. I told her we only had enough for the mortgage payment. “That’s all I need for now,” she said. And when I told her how scared I was that Jared wouldn’t make captain’s pay this summer because we couldn’t afford to pay all his application fees, she calmly offered, “Go home, add up how much it all comes to, and we’ll put it on my credit card.”
I was angry that I had to rely on my mom to “cover us.” When I got home and began to tell a friend how God didn’t answer my hope for our financial problem, I stopped abruptly and realized He had. It just wasn’t how I thought it would happen.
I saw a financial problem, but God saw a way to build something bigger and better, and more valuable than money: a beautiful transformation in my relationship with my mother. When I don’t accept God’s blessings, or see them so clearly, I choose to remain a prisoner. I need to remain hopeful, but I don’t need to be trapped or confined by it.
NOTE TO SELF: Instead of marking slashes on the cell wall, counting the days God hasn’t answered, I need to slash on my cell walls all the times God has. It would be full!