When Hope Feels Dangerous

Is Hope Dangerous?

Hope can feel dangerous. What if we hope, and then reality turns out differently?

Hoping only for a specific outcome or by a specific deadline actually is not a safe way to practice hope.

As we’ve all discovered, our future almost always looks different than what we had originally hoped for.

But different doesn’t mean bad. Different doesn’t have to be faith-crushing.

  • Often the circumstance turns out better than what we could have imagined (that’s God’s speciality, Ephesians 3:20).
  • And even if it results in what we label “worse,” we can discover God’s grace still hasn’t abandoned us. We learn to see him in new ways and through different people (that’s another of his superpowers, too, Lamentations 3:22-23).

Only hope placed in God’s goodness is totally secure, not hope in an exact result nor within a certain time period.

When we place our hope in God, that he will care for us in ways we can see and in ways we can’t see, we release the outcome into his hands.

When Hope Feels Dangerous

“And That’s the Thing About Hope”

These quotes below are by Shaka Senghor. Shaka was imprisoned for shooting and killing a man. He served 19 years in prison in Michigan. He could have rejected hope for the future because of his past.

But hope is unchained by God to roam free in each of our lives. Hope isn’t imprisoned by our past. Hope illuminates our future by redefining our present with confidence.

Read this excerpt from Shaka’s book, Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison. And if you have time, read the whole book. You’ll find hope for yourself there, too. [See more quotes here in my book reviewWriting My Wrongs was one of my top 10 books of 2016.]

“And that’s the thing about hope. In the moment when you feel it, it can seem foolish or sentimental or disconnected from reality. But hope knows that people change on a timeline that we can’t predict.

We can never know the power that a word of kindness or an act of forgiveness will have on the person who needs it most.

What I now know is that my life could have had many outcomes; that it didn’t need to happen the way it did. I was once an angry, lost teenager holding a community hostage to fear and greed. Thousands of youth are making the same mistakes every day.

But we weren’t born that way. None of our children are born that way. And when they get that way, they aren’t lost for good.

That’s why I’m asking you to envision a world where men and women aren’t held hostage to their pasts, where misdeeds and mistakes don’t define you for the rest of your life. In an era of record incarcerations and a culture of violence, we can learn to love those who no longer love themselves.

Together, we can begin to make things right.”

shaka-senghor-writing-my-wrongs

Shaka Senghor discusses his book, “Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison” at the 2016 L.A. Times Festival of Books.

Practice Hope This Way

Ask yourself today what makes you afraid to hope. (Personally, I’m afraid of being disappointed.)

Whatever your reasons, dig deeper into them. Ask God to reveal the lie you are believing. (My lie? That if my expectations aren’t met, God’s goodness won’t be enough to compensate.)

The more we learn to practice safe hope—hope in God, not in a specific outcome—the sooner we can lose our fear of hoping.

Hope isn’t dangerous. Hope is good.

* * *

Are you too often afraid to get your hopes up? What do you fear? Please share in the comments.

See More:

  • Hope for Far More {Scripture Image}
    When you’re afraid to hope, remember this truth about God’s power. It’s far more than you can imagine. Download Ephesians 3:20 graphic.

This is Day 5 of my series, Practicing Hope. See all the posts here. I’m participating in #Write28Days with Anita.

9 thoughts on “When Hope Feels Dangerous

  1. blankCandace Playforth

    That looks like a fantastic book and it’s exactly the inspiring stuff I love to read. I’ve always struggled with hope and can really appreciate the way you’ve laid it out here, Lisa. Thanks for the much-needed encouragement!

  2. blankLaurie

    Thank you for another wonderful book suggestion. I don’t think anyone has had as much influence on the length of my TBR list as you, Lisa! And I mean that is a good way! 🙂

  3. blankTheresa Boedeker

    So good. Hope can seem dangerous and like what’s the use. But when we keep God in the picture we can see the good of other prospects. It seems there is a tension. Hoping for something and also saying thy will be done. I guess it is about being open to other possibilities and not feeling like nothing happened if it doesn’t turn out the way we imagined. I love your part about what lie are we telling our self concerning hope or things not turning out the way we hope they will.

  4. blankHulda

    So well said. I love that you point us back to the source of all hope: Jesus. If I put my hope in Him, I will never be disappointed — I may not understand everything but I know He is a good God — a good and kind Father. I like the book you quoted here. Reminds me of my husband’s story — which we titled, Finding Hope in the Darkest Places.

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