Life is about routine, isn’t it?
If you don’t think that’s true, then just try and change things up in a small way today. Instead of washing your hair first when you get in the shower, wait until the end. Try sleeping on the left side of the bed instead of the right. Or, brush your upper teeth before your lowers instead of the other way around. Feels weird, doesn’t it? That’s the routine.
Sometimes routine is comforting. It feels good to know what’s coming and to have a sense of normalcy in everyday life. But sometimes you need to shake things up, if only for a few minutes, because even though the routine can be comforting, it can also be very, very boring.
Perhaps there’s something good in the boring routine of life as well. Maybe the boring parts of life can actually help us stay hopeful in life. The mundane, everyday rhythm can actually help us sharpen our hope.
Stay Hopeful by Sharpening What’s Dull
If you use a knife long enough, it’s going to become dull. You probably have some kind of sharpening tool in a drawer in your kitchen. That is a tool specifically made for that purpose - to sharpen knives.
But for hundreds of years, people have not used fancy sharpening tools but instead used ordinary, flat stones to do the work. It takes a lot longer to do it that way, but a knife can be sharpened by the smooth dullness of a rock with enough time and effort.
The same thing is true with our hope. Like that knife in your kitchen drawer, hope has a way of becoming dull despite the fact that “hope” ought to be one of the hallmarks of the Christian:
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. - Psalm 31:24
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. - Psalm 42:5
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. - Romans 12:12
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13
Related Post: 20 Bible Verses About Thankfulness
Staying Hopeful in Difficult Times and Good Times
Christian hope is a different kind of hope. The hope we have is much more than a pie-in-the-sky kind of optimism; it is sure and certain because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s this hope, based on what Jesus has done and where He is leading us, that drips into everything we do, think, and believe. And yet even that hope becomes dull sometimes.
Sometimes hope becomes dull because of our circumstances. Bad things happen, and sometimes they’re so bad it seems like there is very little light at the end of a long tunnel.
Any time we find ourselves in circumstances that threaten our dreams, security, or future, it’s hard to stay hopeful.
Ironically, though, true hope is not only dulled by difficulty; it is dulled by prosperity. It’s not only dulled when things are bad; it’s dulled when things are good. If the money’s good, health is good, job is good, and family is good… then what do we need to hope for? We already have everything we want!
Like a knife in the drawer, our hope can get so dulled that it no longer cuts through the temporary pleasures or the temporary sufferings the world brings us.
So, how do we sharpen that knife?
How to Remain Hopeful in Life
This is where the boring parts of routine come in. As we walk through the mundane parts of our day, it can be a reminder that there is actually something more. Something better.
Remembering this hope can slowly, over time, sharpen our hearts and minds to look more clearly toward Jesus, His great love for us, and His promises for our future.
Let’s be careful to make sure the right kind of hope is being sharpened. Let’s make sure that ultimately, what’s being sharpened is not just our desire to sit in a restaurant or go to a concert or hang out with friends.
These are good things, but they aren’t the best thing.
The dullness of monotony can sharpen our hope. But may it be that this sharpened hope is the hope that looks even further than the weekend or the vacation. May it be that the hope is not just to escape our routine, but to escape it all, and be with Jesus.
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