When I was a child I used to ride my bike to the local library and sit for hours. The old stone building with it’s multiple floors and intriguing design drew me in as I sat on the floor between shelves reading book after book of Charlie Brown comic strips for as long as I dared.

On Charlie Brown & False Hope

Charlie Brown. Good ol’, clutzy, socially awkward, constantly messing up, and daily dissed, Charlie Brown.

Me, as I figured myself to be.

I felt deeply over the woes of a hand-drawn character because I could relate a little too much. Lacking in confidence and frequently incapable of being picked first, I knew his sighs with great familiarity.

Good grief.

I messed up, again. I’ve been rejected, again. Words cut me down, again.

Maybe this time Lucy will keep the ball in place and I won’t fall backward and get hurt, again.

When will Charlie Brown learn to stop trusting so blindly?

Here’s the thing, not only could I identify with Charlie’s woes, I also identified with Charlie’s perpetual hope. Albeit, false. Maybe you have too?

Next time things will be different. One of these days, the football will be kicked, the baseball team will win, the kite will fly and everyone will shout, “Yay, for Charlie Brown!”

Hope is a powerful thing. Faith is powerful too, and they’re both a bit curious. Elusive and hard to grasp at times. One thing I’ve come to learn is how these words are often misunderstood or misused.

We hope – for something better than we have right now. Like a new job, a different relationship, an obedient child, a nicer boss, a pay-raise or even a windfall of something seemingly fulfilling.

We hope – (with sheer willpower at times) as we assert powerful, positive words over the negative ones which soil our hearts.

We hope – circumstances will change, people will treat us well and that if we do something good, good always follows.

Charlie continually believes something will change if he can just do a little better and hope a little more. He hopes others will someday approve of him because he finally got something right. Ultimately, he puts his hope in the actions of himself and others.

This kind of hope eventually disappoints all of us because we live in a broken world where no one is capable of getting it all right all the time.

We are a broken world in desperate need of unbroken hope.

Every time Charlie Brown goes to kick that ball again, and Lucy assures him that she will hold it in place, his hope falls flat. Just like he does when she fails him again.

Hope fails & we feel defeated when our faith is wrapped up in the things of this world which are out of our control. Trusting beyond wisdom, hoping against hope, and believing that life will be different if only all the other people play the role they are supposed to, only leads to the kind of hope which disappoints.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick… ~ Proverbs 13:12a

Anyone else relating to Charlie here?

Personally, I grew fearful of speaking up for myself because I might get yelled at. I’ve been fearful of causing someone’s feelings to be hurt. And of doing anything which might prevent the other person from acting right. I put all my hope in doing better or having someone do better to me.

Just like good ole’ Chuck.

But I was wrong and it sucked the life out of me.

All the niceties and false hope building I’ve hid behind for years never produced the peace I longed for. They never will.

We all need something beyond what we see around us. We need true hope, real faith and trustworthy beliefs to penetrate deeper. There is only one source for that and it comes through Jesus.

Despite what we may think or how we may feel at times, God never calls us to trust him then pulls the ball away from us.

Instead, God’s spirit awakens cavernous needs deep in our hearts if only we are willing to be awakened. He opens our eyes to His never ceasing presence, His steadfast love, and His unswerving faithfulness.

He provides everything we need as we need it.

God calls us to put our hope in the only one who is always trustworthy. He draws us into His presence even though we continue to fail, we mess up and we’re socially awkward. With Christ we are already, and always, approved.

When we put our trust in Jesus, God looks at us and says, “Yay, my child whom I love!” Because of Jesus, we can say “Yay, for my Hope is in this God whom I love!”

While sometimes we put our faith & hope in untrustworthy circumstances, our God, who never leaves us flat on our backs. offers the only kind of unbroken Hope and its found in Jesus.

with love,
Jolene

{For more on Hope that doesn’t disappoint, consider this article by Chip Ingram. For more encouragement, join us over on Jennifer Dukes’ Lee’s site for #TellHisStory, where this post and many others are found.}