HOPES of purpose and seasons of peace. Life has them both. My thesis is there are four of each along the continuum of life.
The hopes of purpose are the stages through which life flows. There are these four purposes of hope: 1) our base identity — in Christ; 2) growth propelling us to contribute; 3) contribution-making forging a legacy; and, 4) the legacy we give that makes life worthwhile as we invest in others. All of our lives might feature any and all of these hopes of purpose. At the pinnacle of life we experience all four simultaneously — solidity of identity, the fullness of growth, the self-worthiness of contribution, and the value-to-others of legacy.
The four seasons of peace are different. These are actual locales of the heart and mind during which each season might be enjoyed for a different outcome of peace — but peace all the same. Four seasons of peace that I suggest are: 1) abundance — the joy that comes when our lives feel full of blessing; 2) contentedness — the joy that comes, being at peace, whether in want or in plenty; 3) stilled-of-soul — the nexus of human spirituality as it merges into the divine, notwithstanding suffering and challenging realities; and, 4) assurance — a stand-alone form of peace interconnected with the other seasons for the brief consideration of what lies awaiting us in eternity. These are seasons of peace to strive for, to attain, and to maintain.
Through & For the Peace of Abundance
Psalm 100 is a regal psalm of thanksgiving; so pithy yet powerful. It anchors our identity in the abundance of praise for God’s goodness in our createdness.
David appreciated how the Lord had given him the abundance of his heart’s desires in Psalm 21. Such a psalm inspires faith for the faithfulness of God when we face the uglier periods of growth.
Psalm 96 gives us an abundance of confidence in the God of creation as we preach the gospel to all nations — as we make an evangelistic contribution, as we all should. We preach out of the abundance that God has given us in our hearts.
Psalm 8 is simply a majestic psalm pregnant with abundance. It’s something we can sit in, within our legacy. The Lord is always enough!
Through & For the Peace of Contentedness
Psalm 84 is a psalm for those who wish to ground their identities in contentedness perhaps because it’s absent.
An appreciation for God’s good grace permeates Psalm 32, the blessings replete of obedient honesty, which breed contentedness and esteem the purveyor to growth.
For those wanting stability in a relationship of sole devotion in the Lord, there is Psalm 16. This is a most personal psalm of David’s; the disciple of a heart after God, alone.
When we’re desperate we need to know we can reach out to the Lord in desperation to be heard and delivered. Psalm 34 speaks of God’s faithfulness to that end. Even in the grip of desperation we can pray this psalm over our lives and borrow contentedness from the Lord.
Psalms of contentedness, as we reflect over them, in whatever season the day brings us to, give us a glimpse into what might be. Contentedness is something we might rarely achieve, but it’s something so worthy to aspire to.
Through & For the Peace of Soul Stillness
With Psalm 30 we have another faithfulness psalm; one this time that wreaks of stillness-of-soul. It speaks of David’s reflection when he cried out to God, and then was answered; from weeping came joy, and from mourning, dancing.
Psalm 46 is famous, of course, for verse 10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” There can truly be no more powerful a word in seeking or having attained to a stillness-of-soul.
Psalm 24 speaks of the unison of God’s prevailing majesty over the earth, and, in the form of Psalm 15, the confident stillness-of-soul to be had in a cogently simple obedience.
And no better psalm carries us off into the image of a stilled soul than Psalm 131. A royal psalm of ascent, this one helps us reflect over a life of being still-of-soul just as much as it calls us into that serenity-of-being.
Through & For the Peace of Assurance
The assurance of the Lord is known in the love of the Lord. Psalm 103 is purely regal in this regard. Its theology is comprehensive as it provides for our identity in the matter of assurance.
The Lord is the rock and our salvation in whom all should trust, for trust in idols proves a folly. Psalm 62 is a great assurance that the nature of life is generally trustworthy, though justice flags with the truth, and both lag well behind falsehood. But the Lord will not let the guilty go free — let’s be freshly assured.
Psalm 91 is an assurance psalm, and it will help anyone whose faith is shaken.
Wisdom psalms prove a windfall when it comes to assurance. They’re steady and sound. Such a poem is Psalm 111. It speaks unswervingly of God’s unchangeable character.
Quadruple the Hope!
The fourfold purposes of hope drive us through life on a wave of meaning. With an identity grounded in hope, we have a hope for growth so a worthy contribution can be made, and a legacy can be left. Yet any and all of these purposes of hope have a unique role in our spiritual lives depending on where the moment holds us. These four hopes, therefore, run in series and in parallel.
If there’s two things we all need it’s hope and peace. Hope propels our faith so we can live life courageously. Peace is an outcome of living a right life, and it undergirds the experience of joy.
The purposes of hope fuel faith and seasons of peace breed joy. Blessed is the person finding hope and peace through the psalms.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.