My feet are not my finest feature. Best described as what might happen if Fred Flinstone and Barbie reproduced; they are as wide as they are long with high arches that would make an orthopedist cringe. My toes are short and stubby, rarely maintaining a full set of toenails. Yet, even with a great abyss between each toe and little tuffs of hair on the knuckles, they aren’t all bad. According to the homeless man who sits outside my favorite coffee shop, the strange way my toes spread with every step is actually a sign of enlightenment.
About three years ago I jumped on the barefoot band wagon. I go barefoot as much as possible, and long ago quit wearing socks. I drag my feet along muddy trails, through aerobics classes, round-n-round the spinner, paddle them through chlorinated water. Ugly to begin with, my feet endure an abuse that takes them from the offspring of Fred and Barbie to the direct lineage of Sasquatch and Shrek.
On occasion I treat my feet to a pedicure. I try to rotate Nail Salons for fear they will see me coming and flip the sign to Closed. At my last pedicure a sweet young man labored over my feet. He slid my toes into the warm water and went to prep his tools. Repeatedly he came, rescued a foot from the water, turned it side to side, and went back behind a mysterious curtained area. As the water turned ice-cold, he let out a deep sigh and reached for his pumice stone. He began to grind away at every crack, hardened blister, and permanent dirt stain. I noticed his biceps beginning to tremble while the beads of sweat on his brow turned into a waterfall dripping down on my toes. He mumbled something in Korean that made all the ladies in the salon point at me with whispers and giggles. About the time the pumice stone whittled away to a small pebble, I decided to put him out of his misery.
“There’s no hope,” I told him, “you’ll never get them smooth.”
He practically collapsed to the floor in relief, painted all eight of my toenails, and disappeared behind the curtain again.
His whole demeanor and will was changed with that small declaration: “there is no hope.”
God promises that hope will never disappoint. It was not a promise made in the context of all things being good and easy. It was a promise He made in speaking about the worst of times, the hard the things we face. Hope is called the anchor of our soul, without it our countenance will fall and our passions will fail.
But hope can feel disappointed when misplaced.
There was this moment last week when the winds of change blew through my life. This moment when an offer came my way bringing hope with it; hope for prayers answered. But the winds blew through, and change eluded me. I felt disappointed. I challenged God’s promise because I felt what He said I would not feel.
The problem was that I knew hope would not disappoint but I did not know why . . . Because God’s Love (Romans 5:5). . . Hope will never hold up to all of my expectations, but it will always stay true to the love of God. I lost hope when my heart decided that “if not that, then nothing.” When the reality is that “if not that, God’s love.” His love which will settle for no less than the absolute best for me, is the substance of hope — the reason it will not disappoint. His love which in and of itself is enough.
Whatever you hope for today may whittle away to a pebble. But hope is not lost. It is alive and well in the love of God. Hope in his love. For that is the hope that anchors our soul (or sole).