Dec. 6th, 2023

Compressed Hope




Now the Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation. I will bring good to you. I will make your name great, so you will be honored.

—GENESIS 12:1-2 (NLV)


God took him outside and said, “Now look up into the heavens and add up the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then God said to him, “Your children and your children’s children will be as many as the stars.” Then Abram believed in the Lord, and that made him right with God.

—GENESIS 15:5-6 (NLV)


Life is so beautiful. Life is so hard. For everyone. That was one of my biggest realizations after I got sick. I needed so much help—financially, emotionally, physically—and I would not have made it through without the compassion of strangers and friends. Pain can make narcissists out of the best of us. It demands all of our time and attention and very quickly becomes the loudest voice in the room. How easy it is to forget. Forget there is someone turning on and off the stars. Forget that the sun rises and sets without us having to remind it to. Forget there is someone who makes each snowflake unique. Forget that there is one who provides the rain and knows when a single sparrow falls from the sky (Matthew 10:29). These tiny miracles can be reminders to us that God holds the world together, not us. It reminds us that God created the whole world, and we are dependent on God. And thank God for that because we might be having trouble with regular problems instead: making doctors and insurance paperwork make sense, navigating complicated relationships with family around the holidays, and just remembering to take out the trash on the right day of the week.


Hope is found in knowing that even though it feels like the world is coming undone in my time and maybe in my life situation, the truth is that the sun keeps rising every day and the stars still shine at night. The whole world shines hope upon us everyday. We are just like Abraham in Genesis 12—called out of our comfortable worlds into a hope for a future we cannot yet see. We must trust God to show us the beauty and promises of the bigger story as we try to count the stars (Genesis 15).


for waking up to life again (p. 52)

Blessed are we who say, Wake me too, God. Put me where beauty and love can reach me. I’m ready for something new.



1. Abraham was busy living his own life and seeking his own future. And God interrupts, telling him to pack his boxes. God promised Abraham that there was a future for his descendants, that they would multiply just as the stars in the heavens (Genesis 26:4), an ever-living reminder of God’s steady promise. What do you imagine went through Abraham’s mind as he heard this outlandish promise from God?

2. What holds you back from embracing the beauty that God has for you—beauty that can live alongside your very-loud, very-real pain? Is it because you feel stuck or hopeless? Is it the fear of the unknown or fear of being disappointed? What keeps you from believing that God is taking care of the world (including you!)?

3. How might God be calling you to step out of the comfort (or pain) of your own world and to look around, so God can show you something beautiful?