It's Lent, and I'm traveling it with some of my favorite companions: Eugene Peterson, Thomas Merton, Anne LaMott, Frederick Buechner, Fred Craddock, and Katherine Norris. This morning I was reading Peterson's A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society. In it he says this about the quality of Hope:
Hoping does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions. It is not compelled to work away at keeping up appearances with a bogus spirituality. It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying.
And hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain. It means a confident, alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do. It is imagination put in the harness of faith. It is a willingness to let God do it his way and in his time. It is the opposite of making plans that we demand that God put into effect, telling him both how and when to do it. That is not hoping in God but bullying God.
"I pray to GOD-my life a prayer-and wait for what he'll say and do. My life's on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.”