Recently there has been a lot of talk about whether President Obama has been successful these past four years. Did he bring “hope” and “change” as promised?
Oddly enough, I have been asking the same questions about myself though I stay as far away from politics as possible. These past four years, the start of my 20s, have I changed for the better? Have I transformed into who God wants me to be? Do I have more hope? Do I bring hope to others?
Like evaluating a president’s list of accomplishments, these answers are much more complex than they might seem on the surface.
Sure, I graduated from a university I loved in a field I excel at and shortly after landed an incredible job halfway across the country. A year later, I am heavily involved in a great church with loving people and pour into nearly all of their children from ages 4-14 in some capacity. Sounds like I have this change and hope thing down, right?
I also battle a fair share of “why me, God”s and “anytime now, God”s and “I could really use some answers here.” I question and I doubt, I fight darkness and anxiety, I rely far too often on my friends for encouragement or a kick in the tail to get my faith back on track. I forget the things I need to cling to, remember the things I should leave in the past, stress about the things that don’t matter and am apathetic toward the things that do. Some days, I wonder if I have changed for the worse and if hope is fruitless.
Perhaps it was never about my performance or “level” of spirituality, though. Perhaps it wasn’t about me at all these past four years of learning, growing and falling into adulthood. Perhaps my failures and my triumphs, my holy thirst and my being filled, my mourning and my gladness… were about something bigger than me.
“For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us….
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, 16-18