I have tons of boxes in my garage. Dozens upon dozens. Perhaps well over a hundred. I have no idea how many.
There is a lot.
Small boxes. Big boxes. Frame boxes. Odd-shaped boxes.
I’ve been planning to move for over four years. But I have never packed one box. I have no place to go…but I’ve been planning!
I started collecting boxes several years ago as I was preparing to move. The assortment got bigger and bigger over time. I have moved them from one side of the garage to the other, re-stacked them several times, loaned them to friends, and received them back…only to re-stack again.
My house is fine…it suits our needs. But I’ve still been planning to move.
Why do I keep them? Misplaced hope.
During much of this time I was hopeful of finding a new job, a new position with a church that needed my skill set of leadership and administration. I’ve interviewed all over the country. Literally. Dozens of times I’ve been called out to meet with pastors and staff, only to have someone else be offered the position. (My experiences with this to be written another day.)
Back to misplaced hope…
While cleaning out my garage the other day…and re-stacking boxes…it finally donned on me that these boxes represented a hope that wasn’t secure. I was so focused on the future, the potential, the excitement, the adventure that would ensue from moving to a new place, that I failed to hope in something more concrete. My hope in a move meant I was hoping in the job, the career, the church, the “newness” of the situation…rather than hoping in Christ to renew me and guide me through a transition. Instead of hoping in Christ, I was hoping in moving.
Nehemiah didn’t find hope in the building of the walls of Jerusalem. He found hope in knowing that the city would be secure if the walls were built. Daniel didn’t find hope in the vegetables he ate. He found hope knowing that God would strengthen him and his friends through the unique diet that kept him right with his faith. The Apostle Paul didn’t find hope that Caesar would find him innocent and set him free. Rather, he found hope that Christ knew he was doing the right thing and used the opportunity to preach about Jesus.
So often we find hope in the wrong areas, the wrong places, the wrong people, the wrong jobs, the wrong education. But we must always come back to the One True Hope. Jesus Christ. “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:24-25, emphasis added)
I could always “see” my hope in the garage. The boxes were visible to me every day.
I walked by them to get to the yard…or take out the trash…or feed the cat…or re-stack them when they fell. Each time I thought about the pending move. It gave me great hope each time for the soon-to-be needing of these boxes. The boxes were merely a means to an end, not the end itself. But I had these reversed in my head. But it was all misplaced hope.
So now, as I started cleaning out my garage again, I’ve realized I don’t need these boxes anymore. My hope is in Christ alone because He is the end in mind. He is both the means and the end.
And I suppose that if I do need to move someday…He can provide the boxes I need.
So in the meantime…I’m cleaning out my garage…anyone need some boxes?