As my friend and I sat in her living room enjoying a late “mom’s night” time of fellowship, spinach dip, and savory foccacia crackers, we were interrupted by the giddy giggles of her little girls followed by a few moments of silence while another—whom I had not yet met—made her entrance.
As she sleepily sauntered into the room, all eyes turned toward this precious guest. Barefoot she stood a tad-bit taller than the kitchen counter bar—she was only seven or eight years old. Her straight strawberry-blonde hair hung down to the middle of her back, and her blue eyes twinkled in the dim light as we inquired why she was in the living room (again) instead of upstairs in bed where she was supposed to be.
She had been enjoying a play date with my friend’s two daughters, but this was her first time spending the night at their home. And you could see the answer to our question written all over her face: Hope was homesick.
When bedtime came, Hope was not satisfied with simply being in my friend’s house. She wanted to be seen (by us). She wanted to be heard (by us). She needed to be present (with us).
So we invited her to sit on the sofa between us and gave her our full attention. We asked questions. We listened. We got her a cup of water. We prayed with her. Then, after a while, she was fine, and quietly, of her own free will, Hope returned to her bed upstairs to sleep through the night.
The significance of this experience was not lost on me.
You see, in the days leading up to my writing this devotional, God kept placing “Hope” right in front of me through podcasts, audio books, songs on the radio, and signs on the road. Even last Sunday’s sermon was entitled “Crossing from Hopelessness to Hope.”
So, when I met this sweet girl named Hope on Friday night, I paid attention—not merely to the precious soul in front of me, but to the still small voice inside of me that said, “This. This is what Hope is.”
I’ve spent many days pondering this statement, and I think I understand: Hope abides (1 Corinthians 13:13a).
The Greek word which we translate “abide” means to tarry in place, to be continually present, to live, to remain, to endure.
When Hope abides, she abides not in solitude but in relationship.
You see, Hope needs to be seen. Felt. Acknowledged.
Hope wants to be close to us—not merely in the same room. Hope wants to sit on the same sofa cushion as us. Sharing the same blanket. When we allow Hope to abide, we can look into her eyes and be reminded that there’s more to life than what we see here and now.
Hope is an anchor. She holds us steady through storms and grants us a glimpse of the future in the present turmoil. She reminds us of what life could be if we hold on just a bit longer.
When we are surrounded by fires, hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes, Hope abides.
When we are touched by terrorism, murder, suicide, human trafficking, Hope abides.
Amidst protests, pilfering, and political upheaval, Hope abides.
In a state of food insecurity, poverty, and homelessness, Hope abides.
Hope is not an emotion.
Hope is a gracious gift from our Heavenly Father who knows exactly what we need to get through this life. And He gives Hope generously to all His children.
It’s our job to slow down.
And give Hope a place right next to us on life’s sofa.
Hope abides with us.