Hope Chests of the Heart


hope chestWhat’s in your hope chest? I know, I know, hope chests are something from days gone by and not a tradition of today. In another day, a hope chest was something that young ladies kept items for their home one-day, precious things for their wedding, and objects that represented their hopes and dreams for the future. Maybe a sweet dress to accompany the dream of a daughter, maybe a glass cake plate to represent the many celebrations she would host in her home, and so much more.
Awhile ago, I spent two days cleaning out and packing my mom’s home after her death. I didn’t really know where to begin although I knew I needed a plan. One of the places I found myself first was kneeling in front of mom’s hope chest. She and I had gone thought it years ago and I remembered a few things yet so much I had never seen before. Inside were napkins from her wedding, silver baby cups, cards to my dad after they remarried, family heirlooms in the form of bonnets and doylies, pictures, and memories. Every object held a story. Every object held history. Every object was precious and revealed another part of mom’s journey through the early years of her life.
This journey down memory lane made me think… What’s in my hope chest? I don’t have a literal hope chest, but I have hopes and dreams written out in journals, wishes for life whispered to treasured friends, and desperate cries written on the back of rug where I go to pray and pour out my heart to God. I have a hope chest, it just isn’t made of lumber or have a lid and lock.
All of us have these hope chests. All of us hold cherished hopes, dreams, and prayers. Each of us have a picture of what we want the future to look like and all we petition the Lord for. It reminds me of the parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18. The widow continually came to the judge asking for justice, yet the judge constantly refused. Scripture tells us that he didn’t fear God or care what people thought of him. The judge ended up granting justice so the woman would stop bothering him. We are told that God will grant justice for His people even more so than the judge because He loves us.
What’s the point of bringing up this parable? Well, the widow kept going to the judge just as we should keep going to God in prayer. There’s a quote (I can’t remember who said it) that say’s our knuckles should be bloody from knocking on the door in prayer. What if we took our hopes and dreams to the Lord like THAT? What if we never stopped praying or packing the hope chests of our hearts? Just like mom, who continued to put away precious items in hope of one day having the picture-perfect dream she saw in her heart, are we continually setting our hearts on the Lord instead of just the dream? Are we submitting the dream to the Lord or packing our hearts and locking the lock not allowing anything to change even if the Lord was to answer?
Mom’s chest contained objects from various stages of life and different dreams as the Lord worked in her heart. Are we willing to allow the Lord to change our plans for His glory? Am I willing to submit my life to the Lord’s will and the Lord’s way over my own dreams? Is my hope chest filled with prayer and the scripture or simply my desires?
My prayer is that each of us will submit our lives to the Lord who wants to grant justice and who desires to give good gifts to His children. May our hopes, dreams, and hearts be set on the Lord and locked with His love.

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