April 9th, 2012 by Sarah Jackson
I’ve been watching ABC’s new television series Once Upon a Time this winter. The series chronicles the plight of a band of fairy tale characters that have been cursed by a wicked queen.
Her curse has thrust them from their fairy tale kingdom into our world, stripped them of their memories of their former lives, and damned them to a life without a ‘happily ever after’.
They wander through life having forgotten who they are.
Not surprisingly, their days lack direction, their relationships easily crumble, and their work is rarely satisfying. But still, they dare to hope that life will get better.
Little Red Riding Hood hopes for recognition at work; Prince Charming hopes to be united with his true love, Snow White; and Jiminy Cricket hopes to help people do the right thing. Hope swells and sustains them, for a time. But then the sharp thorns of injustice and human fallibility puncture their hope, leaving them deflated and disappointed.
I can’t help but remember the wise observation from Proverbs when I watch these fairy tale characters flounder:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”
I wish this heart sickness were confined to fairyland. It is disease that can consume and devour, with the power to wolf down joy and drain life of its appeal.
It makes hope feel like a not-so-great thing.
And yet the apostle Paul reminds us that there is a hope that does not disappoint:
The “hope of the glory of God.”
I’ve spent a lot of years trying to figure out how to rest on this bedrock hope when the blows of disappointment send me staggering to the ground. Often, I’m not successful. Hope shatters and I thrash about disoriented and disenchanted, anxiously trying to steady my crestfallen spirit.
This month, though, the plight of the characters on Once Upon a Time reminded me what it takes to rest on this sturdy hope of the glory of God.
We must remember who we are.
This is what powered the ancients in Hebrews 11 to maintain deep and steady faith in the midst of disappointment. When God’s promises to them were not fulfilled in their lifetimes they remembered they were “strangers and exiles on earth,” and they fixed their eyes on “a better country,” the heavenly country for which they were made.
We, too, can look forward to this heavenly country. Before long we will breath its sweet air and be met with the approval of the Father. By God’s grace, we will also be met by faces we know—souls we influenced for Christ on earth. And one day God will establish for us all a new heaven on earth. He will vanquish evil from His glorious Kingdom and appoint us to reign and rule with Him.
We were created to glorify God and enjoy his glory forever, happily ever after.
This is a spacious and sturdy hope we can stand on, if only we would fix our eyes on the glories of heaven when shattered hopes threaten to send us reeling.
This month I have taken time to remind myself of my identity by imagining what it will be like to live in a Kingdom that has neither sun nor moon because God’s glory is its light (Rev. 21:23). Imagining got me hoping.
In heaven, I hope to have some deep belly laughs with God. Imagine what that will feel like in a body that hasn’t been weakened by the curse! And imagine what God’s laugh sounds like…
I also hope to play the piano in a celestial symphony (accompanying the angels, of course), and I hope that every time we hear music in heaven we can also smell and taste it.
And most of all, I hope for the day I know the Father fully, even as I am fully known (1 Cor. 13:12). I cannot wait to hear his voice that thunders like ocean waves and courses with love—the voice that breathed stars into the sky and calls dead men to life—say my name.
What do you hope for in heaven?
Image Credit: poptower.com