Last week I found myself in the waiting room of a cardiovascular specialist. My reason for being there seemed well intentioned. Cardiovascular disease runs in my family, and my own father had a heart attack in his early fifties. I was simply seeking a little peace of mind and assurance from the doctor that I had nothing to worry about, I was in good health and could overcome the genetics that have failed so many in my family. It seemed harmless enough.
But what brought me to and kept me in the waiting room was not good intentions. It was fear. Crippling, paralyzing, exhausting fear. I entered the doctor’s office not out of wise prudency but sinful worry. I was led in shackles by my dual-headed master of fear and worry to draw comfort up from the well of expert opinion and empirical tests.
In the days that followed I found myself nearly undone by the angst of waiting for the hope I was so desperately hoping to gain by a phone call, a letter, something, anything from the doctor indicating a good bill of health. It finally came in the form of an annotated and summarized test report dense with medical jargon that is to me indiscernible. Admittedly, there was in the midst of a list of enigmatic cardiovascular metrics a brief statement that all was well, and I had (on paper) nothing to be concerned with. Yet the indiscernible metrics and medical jargon became a synonym for a bad report. My mind spun with questions. These metrics may be good, but how good are they? Maybe they are only barely good. What does this really mean? This doesn’t sound good, am I actually okay? The report that was to set me free from my shackles did just the opposite. I couldn’t understand it, so my fear and worry only increased. The well of expert opinion and empirical tests proved dry, and I was left wanting.
There was (and is), however, hope to be found, hope to be possessed, hope to be enjoyed. But it is a hope that lies beyond and above, underneath and behind the hope of this world. It is a hope drawn up not from the well of expert opinions or empirical tests but from the well of fellowship with God himself.
“My flesh and my heart my fail (yes, indeed, they will fail),
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73.26
The hope drawn up from the wells of this world is at best temporary. It is an imitation. It is disappointment masquerading in the guise of hope. It will fail, and it certainly cannot save or rescue from the frailty and despair of life.
“We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” Romans 8.23-24
Only from the well of fellowship with God himself can we draw up the true, enduring hope that lies beyond and above, underneath and behind the hope of this world. This hope, the hope of the enjoyment and delight in the fellowship of God overwhelms and consumes the fears and worries of this life rendering them powerless because this hope is anchored and fixed in the eternal reality that even though my flesh and my heart will surely fail, God is and forever will be my great and surpassing reward.