Prisoner of Hope

Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. - Zechariah 9:12

The above verse from the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah is taken from the same passage that is typically read on Palm Sunday---a prophecy about God rescuing God's people.  

The phrase that struck me this morning from Zechariah's prophecy was this one:   "...you prisoners of hope."  There's something incredibly beautiful about that, isn't there?  Prisoners of hope.  

The idea that I could be held by God as a prisoner of hope is one that fills me with a strange sense of peace.  But try as I might, that sense of peace is slippery and elusive.  

You see we've been conditioned by our culture to be afraid to hope.  Nothing seems all that permanent.  Politicians aren't trustworthy.  The institutions that used to harbor our hope are flawed and crumbling.  

And still, we find ourselves holding on to hope... hope that the world will be better... hope that we can be made new... hope that there's a bigger story.  

Author and speaker Christine Caine recently wrote:  
"Sometimes I think hope is an act of defiance, one that God wants us to boldly commit.  It's daring to believe in spite of our losses, in spite of our disappointments.  It's daring not give up and instead, to get our hopes up anyway." 
According to Caine, our defiant acts of hope in the midst of loss and disappointment reflect what the prophet Zechariah proclaimed centuries ago: We can't help but hope.  It's embedded in us.  

In other words, despite our circumstances, despite the fact that it might feel as though all hope is gone... we defiantly and stubbornly continue to dredge up vestiges of hope even when it doesn't seem to make sense to do so.  

In his poem "Andrea del Sarto," Robert Browning put this so beautifully when he wrote: 
Ah, but a man's reach must exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for? 
May you reach beyond your perceived grasp today as you reach for hope in the middle of your challenges and obstacles.  May find yourself held prisoner by this hope, and may you defiantly claim it and find peace.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 

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