Wishing and Hoping
Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
Matthew 20:29-34 (NIV)
Have you ever made a wish? Not the wish you make every year on your birthday, but a wish that comes from a yearning so deep and longing that you would be willing to give up anything and everything for it to come true?
For eleven years I have been living with the pain of multiple sclerosis and for eleven years I have been wishing I had my former life back. I have learned many things in those eleven years of fruitless wishing but chief among them is how a wish differs from hope. Hope is rooted in expectation. A wish is not.
The story of the blind beggars in Matthew 20:29-34 beautifully illustrates this difference. These men were cast out from society and left to beg simply because they were blind. Particularly in Biblical times, it’s safe to assume that their circumstances seemed hopeless. And yet, these men had hope.
As Jews, they were taught to expect a savior. How exciting it must have been when their hope for a Messiah was realized. Because their hope was rooted in expectation, they showed no hesitation. They immediately cried out to Jesus! Even in the midst of their circumstances– unable to see the Savior, cries being stifled by the crowd – they did not lose hope. Their hope fueled them to ask louder! “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (vs.31)
Oh, how many times my circumstances have caused my hope to get quieter. Too often I have allowed the pain of my condition to blind me rather than holding steadfast to my hope in Christ. So how do we hold steadfast to our hope in Christ? I have found it starts with remembering what exactly our hope is––the promise of eternal life and joint heirship with Jesus Christ.
Someone recently shared with me that whatever we focus on becomes bigger. When I focus on my pain it becomes bigger than my hope. When I focus on the promises of Jesus Christ my hope becomes exactly what it should be—bigger than my pain!
Lord, help me to remember that if my hope isn’t pinned on Jesus Christ, I’m only making a fruitless wish.
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