I write this today because I need to. I need to tell myself these things. I just read the pathology report from the Village Church on Matt Chandler (http://ow.ly/MM81). I have known Matt for many years and love and respect him deeply. I am praying for him and for his sweet wife Lauren, and their kiddos, and the Village. And, I am praying with this in mind: there is a difference between desire and hope.
I am praying with great desire. My desire is that God would heal Matt, hand him to Lauren and the kids to be her husband and their daddy, restore him to the pulpit, empower him to preach his heart out for the magnification of Jesus, and one day let him play with his grandkids. I think God wants me to desire those things and ask Him for them, knocking until my knuckles bleed, making it clear to God how I desire Him to respond. And, those desires are good. But those desires are different than our hope.
Sometimes desires are not fulfilled. But, our hope is. Hope does not disappoint us (Romans 5:5). Our hope is certain and sure. Our hope is that none who trust in Him will ever ultimately be put to shame. Our hope is that in Jesus we are forgiven, given his Spirit, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and will one day be revealed as such (Romans 8:14-16; 1John 3:2-3). Our hope is that Jesus has defeated our greatest enemies of Satan, Sin, and Death and through Him we will triumph (Romans 8:37). Our hope is that God is sovereignly moving heaven and earth to secure the good of his elect and bring about their glory and joy (Romans 8:28). Our hope is that we who are in Christ are the eternal objects of God’s love and that nothing, absolutely nothing, can change that status or rob us of its privileges (Romans 8:38-39). Our hope is that these momentary and light afflictions are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2Cor 4:16-17); that the things we suffer are not worth comparing to the glory that God will reveal to us (Romans 8:18). Our hope is that God will not leave us nor forsake us so that even as we experience ten thousand shadows of death come over us, we shall not fear because He is with us (Psalm 23). Our hope is that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us into his presence (2Cor 4:14). Our hope is that if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united to him in a resurrection like His (Romans 6:5). And, our hope is that Christ, who is our great treasure, will be exalted as such whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:20). This is Matt’s hope. He knows this hope; he lives this hope; he preaches this hope. Lauren knows and lives this hope as well, and Matt is blessed to have her at his side.
I just needed to tell myself that today. I need to remember that as I voice desires to be fulfilled and as I plead with the “God who is able,” for Matt’s strength and healing and restoration, I must not confuse my desire and my hope. I am holding tightly to hope and finding my comfort in the God of Hope. Praying we all will. Apostles Church will be praying for the Chandlers.