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Hope And False Hope

photo: Christian Slanec
I had an interesting conversation with Curly-haired Daughter this morning. We were listening to a local Christian radio station in the car. They are in their midst of their fund-raising effort, so they were sharing stories from listeners.

A week or two ago, a mother had called in, crying. Her 16 year old son was getting involved in drugs, not going to church (oh, how this sounds familiar) and generally going off the rails. She needed prayers and encouragement. This set off a flurry of phone calls - people calling in and saying "I've been through this" or "My kid did the same thing."

This morning, a man called in and said he wanted to reach out to that mom. He said he was 43, had been sober for three years, and he had "been that teen." He said "I know I put my parents through a lot" but he was now a Christian and trying hard to be faithful.

My daughter said, "I think that's false hope." I asked what she meant. She said, "Well, that mom is looking for help now. This guy is saying she's going to have to wait 30-some years for her kid to get straightened out."

I thought about it for a minute, and then said, "I don't think that's false hope. God has His own time. We don't like it; we'd prefer to get our prayers answered when we want, the way we want. I prayed a long time to have babies. I did, but not in the way I wanted. Now, looking back, I see God's hand in all of it. Hope means being assured that God is in charge, not that things will be perfect."

False hope is relying on our own choices and desires; real hope is putting yourself at the feet of the Lord.

Of course, I have to remind myself of this all the time as well.

Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. - Romans 12:12

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.