Hope-Shaped Creatures

By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Charlyn Valencia
By Chad Golden
By Bruce Riley
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Jennifer Durrett
By Penny Jones
By Amy Owen
By Jill Asibelua
By Madi McGraw
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Jeremy Varnell
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Alban Snider
By Sissy Mathew
By Oscar Camacho, Jr
By Shannon Pugh
By Al Palamara
By Don Robb
By Mike Pope
By Melanie Mechsner
By Kyla Mikusek
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Jeremiah Betron
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Shannon Lewis
By Chase Studdard
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Amy Aupperlee
By Tiffany Stein
By Barry Jones
By Erin Hargrave
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Jason Stein
By Nat Pugh
By Sarah Kemper
By Dana Myers
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Lindsey Sobolik
By Scott McClellan
By Andy McQuitty
By Pete Hyndman
By Kevin Dial
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith

Presbyterian minister and author Timothy Keller has written, “Human beings are hope-shaped creatures. The way you live now is completely controlled by what you believe about your future.”

Think about that for a moment. Is this true?   

You get up, go to work. Maybe you believe your future holds career achievement. A stable retirement. A bill that’s coming due. 

You stick with your spouse despite deep struggle. You believe in the future God will either smooth out the way or make something beautiful from the pain.

You feed your kids, fold their laundry, fill out All The Forms. You believe their future holds a higher education. The happiness of a life well cultivated. A world that hasn’t ended just yet.

Or maybe you get up, go to work, invest in your marriage, and feed your kids because these are the right things to do. Part of this, perhaps, means you believe a Future You might someday look back on your own life glad at having done your best, or that you’ll eventually meet a God who would have something to say about it.

What are you struggling to do today? What relationship or endeavor seems impossible? Could it be you have lost hope in its particular future?

Each year, I have grown to love more and more the certainty, the hard lines and solid weight and inevitability of heaven; of a world without end (in a good way), a world made new, a world that has no need of sun because “The Lord God will be their light” (Rev 22:5). A world where “no longer will there be anything accursed,” where we will “see his face”, where “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more.”

This is my future. This is your future. This is the future of the children of God, just as sure as the date 2047 will come to pass someday, just as sure as your cup of coffee was hot and black and real this morning. It is not in the abstract, not just a poetic image to encourage us by its beauty and transcendence. It is beautiful, it is transcendent, but the truth of it, the reality of a world without tears and God at its center, is the most important thing. It’s actually going to happen.

And suddenly, all my sub-futures pale in comparison to Our Future.

Still, I wish I knew my sub-futures. Wish I could be given a date and time for when certain uncertainties will be resolved. I wish someone, like maybe Elijah or Moses or the ghost of Prince, could tell me, “On September 14, 2047, you will be wearing a white linen skirt, and will have eggs and berries for breakfast. Also, you will attend the wedding of your granddaughter. Everyone will be whole. You will look back at the investment over the years with deep satisfaction. All the sacrifice will have been worth it.”

But no, the future is shade and blur. We echo the Psalmist: “Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather. And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (39:6-7).

What shape will our God-hope take today? How can we sidestep the shadow? Can our expectation of heaven be made manifest on May 11, 2016 and can we be “completely controlled” by this hope, as Tim Keller suggests? 

Maybe not perfectly, but we can do our best. We can take little glances upward. Small breaths. Millsecond prayers. Tiny tent-revivals, mini homilies, the small sanctuary in a sip of coffee. A sunward face, warm with the coming light.

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