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by Gari Meacham, wife of former MLB player & current Blue Jays MiLB coach Bobby Meacham
Sitting at the airport the other day waiting to board my flight I was surprised by a few conversations floating around me that I couldn’t help but overhear. I know I’m a people lover and could be considered a bit nosey for listening in, but the temptation was so great—and what I learned was even greater.
A rugged woman in her mid-thirties sighed, “I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up…things never work out the way I want them to!” as she spoke to another passenger about her desire for a new job. Across the aisle a man in his fifties spoke to his son in a hushed conversation about the boy’s desire to attend a particular college. The dad belted, “I told you not to harbor false hope. Better to focus on what you know can happen.”
My face dropped in a sideways frown as I thought to myself “Why do we think hope should stay down? And since when did hope become false?” These conversations left me thinking about hope. What is it? And more important, why are we afraid of it?
HOPE: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; a feeling of trust
I understand the expectation and desire and why that feels risky, but perhaps it’s the word trust that puts us over the edge. For those of us that love God and are called according to His purposes, it seems that hope should be a natural emotion, and trust the companion that takes care of our fragile offerings. But if we’re honest, hope feels scary because we fear disappointment. What if things don’t turn out? What if we’re fools to hope things can change? Maybe we’re better off not wanting?
A few minutes ago I got off the phone with my son Colton. I often say my three children are the gutsiest young people I know. Today affirmed the hope I have in hope.
Colton left college and moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in the movie industry. When he explained his desire to his dad and I he prefaced it with, “I know what I’m saying sounds like I want to be an astronaut or a cowboy!” But I didn’t see it that way. As he outlined his plans, I knew it was the right choice for his future.
He moved in with us for five months while saving money for his move; working at a neck-tie factory and parking cars at a hotel. With a small wad of money in his pocket Bobby dropped him off in Los Angeles—no home, no job, no connections…just a pile of hope with a touch of naïve trust. Within weeks he landed a place to live, a church to attend, a job delivering chicken wings, and an internship at a small start-up production company.
After two years of diligent work and commitment Colton was feeling antsy. He needed a breakthrough in the movie industry—and since Bobby and I were praying for breakthroughs for Bobby’s job in pro-baseball; and my work as an author, speaker, and nonprofit leader—the three of us embarked on a month of prayer and fasting like we never had before.
September was the month of hope; the month we laid it bare before God and said, “Here we are—bundles of raw, undiluted belief. Though we risk disappointment, it’s riskier to not trust for the things we pray for.”
October passed like a sleeping giant. You could feel the rumblings of change but they weren’t yet awakened and alert. Something was stirring—hope was arising—but we waited in patient expectancy for the good we believed would come.
And then, in a twenty-four hour period hope rained like a parched desert being quenched.
It started with a childhood friend of mine mentioning she was good friends with the highly acclaimed president of the most powerful production agency in Hollywood. After giving her Colton’s information, she promised to pass it along. In a prepared written message, Colton shared his vision for the movie industry (a haven for excellent films that leave a faith-based message without feeling phony or forced; and the desire to produce, act, and direct in his own films.) The president of this company called Colton’s cell phone and discussed his desires face to face! But that wasn’t then end of it. Another message came from the Creative Executive at Overbrook Films (actor Will Smith’s company). He wanted to sit down with Colton and discuss his ideas and potential work together. In twenty-four hours he had one of the most powerful men in Hollywood call his cell phone, and drove onto the lot of Sony Pictures for a meeting at Will Smith’s production house.
We can argue that it was the power of prayer, the power of fasting, the power of hard work and commitment to a dream—and in some ways—all of this is true. But I think there’s a greater story taking shape…a story about the power of hope.
I wish I could tell this story to the people in the airport. Hope doesn’t disappoint. It isn’t fickle, and it isn’t false. It’s always ready to encourage, and leaves us stronger when we grab it unashamed, and trust in its power.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15
Gari Meacham is a beloved author and speaker. Her highly acclaimed books “Truly Fed”, “Spirit Hunger” and “Watershed Moments” invite people to truly engage God. Learn more about her at GariMeacham.com.