I often get asked: Why does God let bad things happen to us?
So, I ask you this: Who hopes for what he already has?
I am not fully convinced that people understand hope. Hope is not bargaining with God, “this for that”. Hope is not something you see. Hope is not something you have with full hands. I doubt hope is something you immediately think of when you are frustrated or outraged when the world is not working in your favour according to your will.
If we hope for what we do not have and cannot see, we wait for it patiently. This concept stirs a beautiful image, I think, when placed in the context of agriculture.
In drought, there is no bargaining. There is no “if I do this, God will send us rain”. It does not work like that. Rain is not bought with bribery. There is no magic tap or forecast accurate enough to give us a deadline. One bout of rain will not cure a drought.
Instead, farmers must wait. They are challenged to constantly wait patiently. In drought, farmers come with ragged, empty hands to God. For such proud people, they are made vulnerable and exposed. There is nothing they can do but hope in God that the rain will come. It is not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’, and whether they can hold out to the end, trust in God, until it comes.
The capacity to hope is manifested by looking at those who suffer hail, drought, storms, dust, wind, pests, diseases, trespassers, thieves, the list goes on. Farmer’s entire livelihood, how they support their families, relies on something they cannot see. This they endure is a testament to them and what they do.
This is hope.
For farmer’s, the value of water is significantly high. If it always rained, there would be nothing to hope for. We’d get comfortable and forget what it is like without it. Our hands would be forever full. We would not turn to God for help. We would feel that we would not need God.
Unfortunately, we are not deserving of a perfect world, so we must face frustration. But God offers us a way to escape that. God allows frustration and dismay to bring us back to hope. We are forced to return to something bigger than ourselves and that is to something we can neither see, nor touch. We must come to God and to hope with empty hands in order to receive. The frustration we face reminds us to hope and only in hope are we liberated from the bondage of frustration as children of God.
~ Dominique Schuurs
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.