“Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” – Zechariah 9:12
I dearly love being a prisoner of hope. What is a “prisoner?” A bondsmen, a slave, a captive. That’s a bad thing in the modern, freedom loving world, but in this context it is just awesome.
Believe it or not, I am not a very hopeful person. I’m more of a, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong,” kind of person. Not only am I prone to melancholy and despair, I also have eyes that can see some far reaching ripples out in the human pond. Cause and effect, the impact of human behavior and the end result. Trust me, I totally get Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. The truth is so not written for the faint of heart.
On top of that I have the usual human tendency to focus on the negative and so I have to be exceedingly diligent to, “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Our brains do that negativity naturally, we’re always scanning for red flags, fear, distress, drama. It takes quite a bit of discipline to flip that around and start scanning for the good stuff.
So “hope” is just not my forte for a multitude of reasons.
That’s what makes being a prisoner of hope so awesome. When I haven’t got any hope at all, which is actually fairly often, the Lord is always quick to remind me it’s really not in my hands. He has the hope. I am just a prisoner of His hope.
That is actually a huge relief. Hope is not in my own hands which is exceedingly good news, because my own hope is usually in short supply. His hope is abundant, overflowing, and seated in victory at the right hand of the Father.
The same is true of faith, love, trust, patience, self control, a whole slew of virtues, fruits, tools that we really need to navigate the world with. I mention this because it can be an odd juxtaposition for some in the modern world, where we tend to hate the idea of slavery, hate bondage, hate captivity, hate any perceived loss of freedom or potential risk of exploitation. And that’s a good thing! Amen to that mindset. It is just that God likes to turn some of our own mindsets upside down. As a prisoner of hope, you don’t have to be the one in charge of holding onto it, of conjuring it up, and you aren’t a failure when you can’t seem to find it.
Also, our own hope is always entwined in scarcity, His is rich and abundant, more than enough, a limitless supply.
I “hope” that makes sense. One thing I really love about the Apostle Paul is that I think he really got that concept, I think He really figured out the strength that can be found in our weakness, the power in our surrender.