Hopey-Changey Thing

woman dove tat in pew - mediumOne morning on my way to our office I found myself stopped in traffic at a red light. Momentarily halted in my tracks, my gaze drifted to the bumper sticker on the vehicle idling in front of me.

Did you know bumper stickers can tick you off, make you laugh, pump your fist, or yell your agreement or disagreement? This one caused a second glance to ensure I’d read it right. I had. I didn’t like it. At all. It said:

So. How’s that hopey-changey thing working for  you?

If my insides could be seen, they were visibly upset. There was something about the spirit attached to that question that made me want to pull a soapbox out of my trunk, climb up on it right in the middle of traffic and holler back in defense of the Lord, hope, change…a-a-nd mom and apple pie while I’m at it!

As soon as the question registered between my eyes and my brain, my mental life coaching hat got slapped on my head. Since ‘helping others live life forward’ is my tagline, how dare you – bumper sticker spirit – attack hope and change?! (Do you catch the drift I took it rather personally and got quite indignant over that question?) So did I and found myself asking why it landed as hotly as it did.

– where there’s smoke, there’s fire –

The first thing I did when I arrived at the office was write down that bumper sticker question on a sticky note so I wouldn’t forget it (as if I could). For months it sat stuck on my desk; I knew it would eventually turn into a blog post. Then one day I went looking for a photo to accompany that ‘hopey-changey thing’. It’s not that easy to find a photo to fit a phrase. Unless you’re Google.

I typed in the phrase in a general search kind of way and sat back in my chair, stunned. Well, that explained a lot. The bumper sticker question was pointing a disgruntled finger at those who voted into office our current President of the United States, Barack Obama. Turns out that “Change” and “Hope” were his 2008 campaign slogans. Obviously I hadn’t paid much attention to his catch-phrases. I had no clue until Google informed me of what the rest of the world wide web – and some drivers – already knew.

Suffice it to say that America is beyond smoky these days; it’s in the fire. However, this post is not about politics. It is about what we are and do living day in and day out as ishshahs in our respective countries.

– plow, level, sow and plant –

Each of us is a field and has a field. No two are alike; similarities and differences exist. There is no duplication of the Lord’s creative essence that resides within each of His beloved ishshahs. Our field is as distinctive to us as we are the unique individual God has created and placed around the globe.

At times, however, it seems the beauty of our uniqueness gets lost, buried, hurt, hidden, scarred, torn up and turned over. As though our matchlessness has been exposed to the sharp blade of a plow that digs deep into the soil, leaving a ripped open swath in its wake. At such times one’s heart winces and recoils from the pain of the plow. Yet the farmer does not plow continually. He plows to prepare.

Does the farmer plow continually to plant seed?
Does he continually turn and harrow the ground?
Does he not level its surface and sow dill and scatter cumin
and plant wheat in rows, barley in its place and rye within its area?
For his God instructs and teaches him properly.
Isaiah 28:24-26 [1]

Do you know what it is for that God is plowing, leveling and preparing you? Assuredly, it involves hope and change.

Perhaps you do know and are already up to your knees in what has been sowed, planted, and scattered by His instruction and direction. Whether a little plot or a thousand acres, keep one hand to the plow and the other held firmly in His grip.[2]

You may find yourself among those who are in the leveling phase. A season of indeterminate length where the Lord is making the rough places smooth and setting your feet on a firm, straight path. Learn well from your God as He instructs and teaches you His ways, all of which are right and just.[3]

Maybe you are feeling the sharp tip of His plow as He continues to do a thorough breaking up of dry, hard ground that it might be readied for His healing rain. Take heart, beloved. He does not plow continually but plows to prepare. His plantings will be beautiful when the season of blossoming comes.

– real hope, real change –

A lot of us can be found trudging along somewhere in the furrows of our life hoping to make it to the finish line. In the heat of the day, hope and change may sound like just the ticket for some relief.

What happens when our anticipation of hope and change is challenged by what appears around us as less abundant than hoped for and lacking fruitful change? What is our recourse?

When some become cynical in the face of the obvious and reduce hope and change to that ‘hopey-changey thing’, how should we respond?

The Word of God reminds us there is real hope for real change –

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope;
for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see,
with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Romans 8:24-25[4]

Sometimes that eagerness gets primed again by the Lord when, where and in ways one least expects. He’ll even use bumper stickers and soapboxes to go toe to toe in the Spirit.

So. In answer to your question, bumper sticker spirit

That ‘hopey-changey thing’ is working for us just fine.  

When we persevere in hope,
all things are possible with God and to her who believes.[5]

[1] [4] NASB
[2]Matthew 11:30
[3]Deuteronomy 32:4
[5]Matthew 19:26; Mark 9:23
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