Hope in God
I recently watched the Great Gatsby in theatres; it absolutely blew me away
…not because it was a phenomenal movie (although I can say that it was really well put together) but because of the profound significance that it had to me personally.
Have you ever had a moment where you deeply identified with a character in a story, whether presented in the form of a movie, play, or even book? Well that’s what happened with me and The Great Gatsby.
The narrator of the story, Nick Carraway, introduces his friend Gatsby as “…the single most hopeful person I’ve ever met, and am ever likely to meet again”
As he comes to know Gatsby more and more he sees clearer and clearer “Gatsby’s extraordinary gift for hope… a gift that I have never found in any other person”
The story, at its core, revolves around an elaborate mirage Gatsby has concocted in his mind and has come to believe wholeheartedly. He hopes without any reservation; he dreams no matter how seemingly unrealistic… that the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan (who is now married to another man), will come back to him. Even more absurd is his persistence that they are to start their relationship right where they left off four years ago as if nothing had happened in the meantime.
[Gatsby] wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was.
I liken his mental state to the verse in Romans 4:18 referring to the faith of Abraham “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed”
But there is one major difference.
Gatsby hoped in a situation, a person, an idea – we are supposed to hope in GOD!
Too many of us (myself included) are so easily occupied in having faith in the wrong thing… things that perish, that don’t satisfy, that don’t sustain…
What Is Hope?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Hope feeds faith. Put another way, the faith you have in something comes from the amount of hope you put into that thing. The more you hope for health, wealth, and whatever else.. the more you believe [or have faith] that those things will satisfy, sustain, and ultimately save you. See the problem?
It completely shifts our focus from hoping and having faith in God
Have you ever hoped for something and then reached that goal? What happened? I bet you thought to yourself, “Is this all there is? I thought there was more to it than this…”
That’s because we hope and have faith in the wrong thing too long that we fool ourselves into believing that if we only get [insert blank here] we will have it made. Hebrews 3 mentions the “the deceitfulness of sin” and in my opinion there is no better adjective to describe it.
Gatsby’s story portrays this brilliantly:
“Gatsby himself didn’t believe [her call] would come, and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about….”
Hoping for other things besides God always leaves you wanting more. You go from one level of achievement to the next never finding satisfaction – never finding true fulfillment
What Should We Hope In?
Psalm 42 exclaims:
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
What a beautiful passage! Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him. God is the one we should trust to save us from whatever situation. God is the one we should focus on. God should be our God and nothing and no one should take his place.
Here are a couple more passages:
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God. (Psalm 146:5)
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love (Psalm 33:18)
No one who hopes in You will ever be put to shame (Psalm 25:3)