I was praying about a few things this week and felt as though God was asking me, “Why are you in a deficit mindset?”
My prayers included petitions about things I want fixed or soothed, asking for things that haven’t been provided for yet, and asking God to help fill in areas that are missing or incomplete. It dawned on me during my prayer that I was approaching God with quite a pessimistic attitude.
This person is sick, and I’m upset about it – God, pleeeeeeaaaaase heal them!
God, I’m going to miss this deadline on a project – how am I going to make it?
God, I need a job, and I’m going crazy while unemployed – help!
God does enjoy it when I lay my needs at His feet, but I’m learning that He delights in those petitions much more when I approach Him with a hopeful spirit, one that trusts in His infinite providence.
Here a few ways I could transform these petitions to make them more pleasing to God’s ears–
Lord, my good friend is sick, but I know that you bring about good for all those who love you. I surrender this friend into your loving hands, Lord. Your will be done!
Lord, you know the struggles I’m facing completing my project in time. I thank you and praise you for the gift of this work, Lord. I ask for the grace to work quickly and for a best-case outcome.
Lord, I thank you for the time of peace and recollection while I’m unemployed. You are the good giver of all things, and I know you will provide the next great opportunity at the right time. I thank you in advance for your blessing, Lord!
Our attitudes or the state of our hearts can make our requests or petitions sound very different. Often, we ask as though we were unconvinced of the power of God, and only wishing (but not really believing) that God would come through for us.
But this is not the way God wants us to treat Him as our Father!
I realized that God was challenging me to see my own negative way of thinking. That anything that doesn’t go my way or the way I expect it to automatically becomes an unwanted problem that I become irritated by or that causes me to despair. And then when I tug at my Father’s garment, asking Him to see my pain and need, it’s a request that likely looks so dismal and untrusting to Him.
Does It Matter Whether of Not We Are Hopeful?
It matters whether or not we believe God will be there for us when we need Him, and it’s this anticipation of His goodness, His faithfulness, and His promise that we call “hope.”
Today we might think of hope in more mundane, practical terms. I hope it rains tomorrow! I hope my presentation goes well at work! I hope the grocery store isn’t packed!
But hope can bring us so much more than these simple wishes.
It might not be an easy task for everyone. Some of us go through such desperate trials and sufferings in life, to the extent that being challenged to “keep hope alive” seems like a tall order or waste of time.
But even in those most difficult circumstances, and especially in those circumstances, is where and when our hope matters most.
Why Should I Have Hope?
I have countless reasons to hope every day. I just need to take a second and notice the miracles occurring in my life daily.
I wake up in the morning, for one. God gave me the gift of life, and He still grants me a fresh new day. I have air to breathe, a roof over my head, food to eat. This is cause enough to have immense hope.
The call to hope fills stories and exhortations in the Scriptures. There Jesus reminds us, “But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” (John 16:22)
We know our life will continue after our death throughout eternity, and we have a BIG cause to hope for an eternity spent in Heaven! We desire Heaven and eternal life as our ultimate happiness, trusting in Christ’s promises.
God placed a desire for love and happiness in the heart of human beings. So, we follow pursuits to build up and cultivate this love, this happiness, this peace and joy, knowing that it will only reach fulfillment once we are united with God in Heaven.
This sense of hope that we activate in our day-to-day life helps us take up our cross and walk the Christian walk. This hope keeps us from discouragement, sustains us when we feel alone, and keeps our hearts open and in anticipation of the joys of eternal life.
A hope for goodness also enables us to become freer, less worried, and more at liberty to do good for others. If I am confident that good things are coming my way tomorrow, that brings me a joy and a peace that allows me to be fully present and charitable towards those people in my path today.
Today in Mass we heard Jesus call on His disciples to run towards the cross instead of away from it so that once we lose our lives for Christ, we will see the “Son of Man com[ing] with his angels in his Father’s glory” (Matthew 16:27).
Everything around us looks grim right now, and we all joke that it keeps getting worse, to the point where we don’t know what’s coming next in 2020. Now is the most critical time to start cultivating a strong sense of hope.
As we look around at the turmoil around us, the hope that we’ve grasped onto can anchor our souls, rooting and reminding us that Christ has gone before us, to death on a cross. He opened the doors to salvation, and despite the tragedies in our cities, our country, and our world, we HOPE to enter into glory with Him one day.
Open up the heavensExcerpt from ‘Open Up the Heavens’ by Vertical Church Band
We want to see you
Open up the floodgates
A mighty river
Flowing from your heart
Filling every part of our praise”