We have a dog. He’s brown and stubborn and the joy of my children’s day. He lives for them, too.
He also chews up all of my mechanical pencils. And hairbrushes. And the end of my glasses. And flip flops are his joy in life. Grover is a rascal. It helps if we walk him everyday a few times. I usually take the morning shift because I love mornings and I get so much joy out of hearing his tags jingle and echo in the soft, chilled air of just before sunrise. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we walk. He always thinks that every other person out at that awful early hour is overjoyed to see him.
Recently, I took the night shift because my husband looked exhausted after a handful of very physical work days. I took a road through our neighborhood that I don’t take much anymore. It’s a road that over many years has symbolized a bit of promise to me. I can still hear the scratchy whirring of tricycle wheels and push cars, the sounds of early in the promise when it all felt shiny. Now? The promise feels broken, tarnished somehow, abandoned. I turned my face up and let tears stream. I sent my thoughts up to my Lord, “Why here? Why now? Have you forgotten?”
A truth barrelled through my brain. The promise was never here. The promise of goodness and care and growth and fruit? It was never rooted down in that tree lined street. It always rested above in the loving arms of a Father who makes good things out of just about anything. He promised to make good. He didn’t promise it would always feel good.
Miqveh. It’s a Hebrew word for hope. It means confidence. It also means a collection of things, gathered. It first appears in Genesis 1. God looked at the land that He formed and the waters that He gathered together and He called them good. Hope isn’t at the root of good. It’s at the root of the Lord doing His work: gathering.
Hope wasn’t in the made thing. It was in the Maker. It IS in the Maker. That tree lined street? Maybe it has lost its luster. It didn’t end up leading me where I thought I’d go. At all, really. But the promise wasn’t in all of that anyway. It was in God doing what He always does: making beauty where ashes and dashed hopes cover the ground of a heart.
The truth is that God is a promise keeper. Always. Forever. Our hope is in that, in His makerly ways.
I wonder. What is your tree-lined street? The thing you thought held the promise for you?