Madonna House

God Is Our Hope

by Fr. Bob Wild

I have been going slowly, in prayer and reflection, through the prophet Isaiah. The other day I came across a passage which spoke powerfully to me about hope and what hope really is.

Oh, that you would tear down the heavens and come down …. The nations would tremble at your presence, at the unexpected miracles you would do (Isaiah 64:1-2).

“Unexpected miracles!” In the Scriptures, our God does new and unexpected things. In the Scriptures, hope is not simply people asking God to help with their own plans. Hope is about unexpected miracles.

Think of Joseph, for example—not St. Joseph, but the Joseph who was thrown into the ditch by his brothers. I’m sure he prayed, “Oh God, get me out of this ditch!” God not only rescued him but made him one of the great men of neighboring Egypt.

Consider Hannah praying, “Oh God, give me a child.” God did, and he made that child one of the great prophets of Israel.

Remember David tending his flock? He probably often asked God for large and healthy flocks when he grew up. Instead, God made him the chief shepherd of his people, Israel.

All throughout the Scriptures, people have little plans and little ideas. God looks on them and says: I am the God who created the universe. I hold the whole future and all possibilities in my hands. You have no idea what I’d like to do for you.

In our own lives we often think of hope as trusting that God will help us out with our small plans. But Christian hope is hope in God, a God who can do so much more than we could ever hope or imagine.

Our God, the God of the Scriptures, the Father of Jesus, is Somebody who performs totally unexpected miracles.

Haven’t those of us who have tried to follow Christ in faith often experienced new and wonderful blessings? Haven’t we seen God do things in and around us that have amazed and excited us and filled us with wonder? And he will do much more if we keep following him and put our hope in him.

God’s plans, we may be sure, will be much vaster and more fruitful than ours. But he won’t tell us the details ahead of time.

God told Abraham to travel west; he told Moses to go to Egypt. He didn’t tell them much else, except that he, the God of gods and the Lord of lords, would be with them.

God is constantly trying to get us to put our hope in him, to get us to walk hand in hand into the future with him. If we do, what will happen will almost certainly not be what we had planned. It will be something much better—what God has planned.

Who ever would have expected that God himself would come to save us? Who would have expected the Resurrection?

What wonders still lie ahead of us in the immense creativity and goodness and omnipotence of God?