Recently a friend shared the story of Jane Marczewski and the phrase she would champion: REBELLIOUS HOPE.
Even though she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, she would go and audition for “America’s Got Talent” and the judges would give her the coveted “Golden Buzzer” that allowed her to advance toward the end of this national competition. However, the cancer would intensify and the reality of her future death from this cancer was pressing upon her from every direction.
In an interview, she would say: “I am planning my future, not my legacy. Some people would call that blind denial. I prefer to call it rebellious hope.”
In the face of much uncertainty and the loss that is coming, Jane has purposed to have a rebellious hope for her future, rather than to be overwhelmed by her current realities. For her, it appears, that this is not some causal or flippant hope either, but it is truly rebellious, for rebels like to do things a unique way.
Parents often want to address a rebellious spirit within their children and to see it transformed into a life-changing strength that will be used in unique ways. Ultimately, rebels have a heart to champion change and this is something most of us struggle with — especially as we embrace the reality that sickness and death will happen. Relationships will experience great pain. Disappointment will come and try to rob of peace, joy... and of our hope.
Lamentations 3 gives us a great example of what it means to have a rebellious hope as it describes a hope for relief through the loving-kindness of God. This passage of Scripture give us one of the greatest confessions of faith. Warren Wiersbe writes about this text that “Jeremiah had been dwelling on his sorrows and the sorrows of his people, but then he lifted his eyes to the Lord — and this was the turning point. In the midst of sorrow and ruin he remembered the mercy of the Lord. “‘His compassions fail not.’ We have failed him, but he cannot fail us. ‘Great is your faithfulness.’”
The faithfulness of God is what a rebellious hope is all about for this kind of hope chooses not to build their life on the things or people of this world. Doing so actually produces a great deal of anxiety and fear. Rather, a rebellious hope in the faithfulness of the Lord is built on the extravagant love of Christ. When we confess our need for him, and rest fully on his pathways of repentance, then we can have a real confident hope that is rebellious in a sense toward sickness and death, relational pain and hurts, and the disappointments and setbacks of this life because it looks to the Lord to change and transform those present realities through the abidance of God’s mercy.
A rebellious hope looks past oneself and gazes fully upon the eyes of the Lord, seeking out what God wants to change and transform in our lives as we wait on him. This is not an easy process, and to pursue it will require sacrifice on your part. But as one does, may we remember that we have been given the most beautiful mercy from the Lord so that we may draw near to him through confession and repentance. This change, will bring about in us the Godly character necessary to champion in our lives, a continued rebellious hope, producing Christ-like change and making us anew in Christ each day.
Nick Emery is pastor of Hope Crossing Community Church.