“Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.” —Psalm 33:22
The ability to imagine a different reality sets human beings apart from all of creation. Children are best at this. My favorite moments lately include playing alongside my nephews who are two and four years old. They have a way of ushering me into a world that begins in their mind’s eye and that is arrived at through play.
When I think about hope, I can’t help but connect it with this idea of playful imagination. I believe the Creator God is inviting us into His realm of imagination—to imagine what He envisioned for His creation. This similar sentiment is found in the book of Isaiah: “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:19b).
In the beginning of Psalm 33, the psalmist proclaims God’s power and creativity as life and light flood what once was formless and dark. The psalmist concludes by offering a declaration of hope. The Hebrew word for hope used here is “yakhal,” meaning “to wait for.” Biblical hope includes the ability to wait, and to see new creation coming forth through the rubble.
This shouldn’t be misconstrued with blind optimism. Many people, if they try hard enough, can look at dire circumstances and imagine a better version. Yakhal, on the other hand, is not built on our ability to imagine well, nor is it based on circumstances. Rather, our yakhal is found firmly in the character of the Creator God and His past and present faithfulness.
Pause and take a deep breath. Read Psalm 33 in its entirety. Allow the weight of the words to sink in.
Regardless of the circumstances around you, you are being invited to rest in the One whose “intentions can never be shaken” (33:11). I pray for a sense of comfort and resilience to be evoked in you as you choose to embody this truth.
This passage also invites you more deeply to understand your identity as a child of God. This powerful declaration of hope is meant to instill in you a childlike wonder as you imagine the world through the mind’s eye of the Creator, and ultimately, His faithfulness. When you take this posture, nothing looks the same.
I wonder, would you be bold enough to ask yourself: what in my world needs to be reimagined through the lens of hope? In what areas might I be allowing my circumstances to inform my imagination?
Prayer for the week: Father, forgive us for the times we have been short-sighted and have allowed other voices to inform our realities. Help us to build our hope not on what we experience but rather on Your faithfulness. Lead us to new places of imagination and hope as we wait on You with great anticipation and expectation. We look to You alone, Father!
Sarah Fredricks is Associate Pastor at Living Hope Church of the Nazarene in Olathe, Kansas, USA.
Written for Coffee Break.