Conversations with Micah: Hope 

We spend a great deal of our lives hoping for things. Some of our hopes are for the things we see as important and lasting. We hope to find that special someone to make a life with. We hope to bring children into the world and nurture them into maturity (some are still hoping). We hope to be healthy and happy and to enjoy as much as we can.  

Not only do we have these hopes, we hope for other things that may seem trivial. We hope our favorite teams will championships. We hope our favorite shows never get canceled (and if you watch and Law and Order or CSI spinoffs, there’s a good chance for that). We hope the rain holds off long enough to have a nice picnic on a weekend afternoon.

All of these hopes share something in common: they are an act of trust toward the future, a future we cannot see, a future we do not know will happen. Hope is an active emotion but also an active state of being. We can feel hope as much as we can choose be hope. When we are feeling hope, we are placing a trust in the situation, the moment, the people we feel that hope for. When we are living in a state of hope, we are choosing to make that feeling of hope a part of way of being by living in trust. The writer of Hebrews says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”[1] or as Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message, “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” Living into hope as a way of being is living with an expectant trust that God will be walking with us no matter what we face. 

This is what the people of Judah were faced with in Micah’s day. Micah chapter five is focused on the idea of living into hope in difficult time. The chapter begins with a coming siege in verse one. Jerusalem will be surrounded; the people will be trapped. Yet Micah offers the encouraging words of a coming leader, one who will, “They shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword; they shall rescue us from the Assyrians if they come into our land or tread within our border.”[2] In other words, have hope! God will raise up someone to lead the people through the crisis, someone to point to way when the way seems lost. Not only that, but the people will not perish. As we talked about last week, there will be a remnant, those who will carry on for those who have been lost. “Then the remnant of Jacob, surrounded by many peoples, shall be like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not depend upon people or wait for any mortal.”[3] As the kingdoms of Israel and Judah march headlong toward this impending crisis, the prophet encourages them to hold onto hope and know they will not be left outside the care of God.

Each of our lives face the impending march of time. As we walk through time, we have a choice as to how we march: with hope or without it. To march without hope is an empty existence. Living in hope means placing our hope, or better said, our trust, in God. It means we seek day by day to pray this prayer, “God, open my eyes for ways to love you and love those around me, this day.” Pray it with me: God, open my eyes for ways to love you and love those around me, this day.” Again: God, open my eyes for ways to love you and love those around me, this day.” This should be the prayer that leaves our lips first thing in the morning, with the hope and trust that God will help live into it. And the last thing on our lips should be, “Thank you God, for the path I walked today. Forgive me my missteps and thank you for helping me stay on the path where I did.”

As you, live into hope, into trusting God, make this your practice. Pray these two prayers everyday, believing God will lead you to live in love, hope, and trust.

[1] Hebrews 11:1

[2] Micah 5:6

[3] Micah 5:7