The Long Shadow of Hope
By Vera Entwistle of Taipei, Taiwan (World Service Corps)
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.” For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good. —Psalms 122:6–9 NRSV
Years ago, many young women had a hope chest, often a trunk or box where they placed beautiful personal and household items to use in their future homes. People who loved these young women often gave them things throughout the years to add to their hope chests. Grandparents used to warn us that it was never too soon to begin to add things to these hope chests. As young women planned for the future, they often opened their hope chests to inventory their treasures.
Hope is much more than confidence in the future. In the Old Testament one of the words for hope is kavah which translates as “tied together.” Hope is a woven cord that binds us to God.
All of us are contributing to a hope chest that will sustain us in the future. But these are not furnishings for a house—these are memories on which we can reflect when we need them most.
I like to think there is a shadow of me in the places I have been, in the work I’ve accomplished, and the people I have known. When I am doing my best, I like to think that I cast a shadow that gladdens the earth and brings joy to the heart of God.
Hope comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be as fleeting as a smile or as enduring as a testimony. The memories we have built will not tell us what the future holds—but they do tell us who holds our future.
Advent Prayer Phrase:
Anticipation deepens within.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice:
Spend a few moments dwelling in God’s presence. Pay attention to where your heart feels drawn into prayer. What words, images, or themes in this story lead you to reflect on your own faith journey? What is God’s invitation to you this day?