The Act of Hope
O Lord God,
I hope by your grace for the pardon
of all my sins
and after life here to gain eternal happiness
because you have promised it
who are infinitely powerful, faithful, kind,
In this hope I intend to live and die.
It’s springtime in the Middle East and my 10-year-old recently planted seeds in our garden. He frequents the sun soaked ground for signs of life, but they are nowhere to be seen. We anticipate a bountiful harvest, but for now, the seeds are buried and there is "death."
In the Act of Hope we pray: In this Hope I live and die.
Like the seed that emerges with yielding fruit once it is relinquished, so do we who hope in the Resurrection. But living in hope does not mean living in immortality. If death is not a daily reality, then Christ’s triumph over death is neither daily nor real.
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. // John 12:24
In seasons of great sorrow, it is easy to discern death. But what about little inconveniences and frustrations that occupy our daily grind? We would never deem these worthy of suffering, and yet these serve as divine tools to “live and die” daily in Hope.
Lately, for me, it’s been when my children leave books and brushes in my freshly swept study. What a seemingly inconsequential “suffering.” Yet it is here, when the providence of God crosses the will of my flesh that I can die... not to my God-given self, but to my sinful self. I die in hope. I die to all that is lesser, pettier, and meaner so that a nobler, more joyful self might come to life. And I create space for the Holy Spirit to birth "new seeds."
How gracious that the Lord meets us in our daily toil, in the already and the not yet. How revelatory that He is sovereign over our tiny irritations and thorns. How comforting that He patiently treads on the soil of our hearts, nurturing, pruning... conforming, breathing.
The seeds buried in our garden are slowly showing signs of life. And so will our daily deaths.
Nothing in your life is pointless. Take heart as you fall daily into the ground, hidden away to die. Take heart in your light and momentary affliction—for the One we follow to the grave is a Resurrected Savior. Remember, He retained the scars of His crucifixion, even after He was risen, so we could find hope in our own deaths—this hope in which we intend to live and die.
Let Us Pray
Heavenly Father, as we allow ourselves to be buried in the dark soil in order to produce great fruit, we acknowledge that there is not a moment in which You are not with us. Thank You for destroying our death and restoring our life. Amen!
In what ways do you feel "buried" or "planted" in dark soil right now? Where are you struggling to see the growth or fruit?
What would it look like to live in hope in that circumstance?