Trust and hope are the compass of our soul. Our Soul Compass guides us in our journey through life. When people say things like “live life in reference to God” it means that their hope is in God and they are seeking to live lives that reflect this primary commitment. A way of thinking about this is to understand that everyone lives life in reference to where their deepest hope is placed. Everyone.
A compass helps us understand how this works. It’s commonly understood that a compass points to magnetic north. A compass helps with navigation and has four parts that make this easy.
- A floating needle that points to magnetic north
- A rotating bezel we can move
- A lubber line for our direction of travel
- A Side window to see our direction of travel relative to North.
To navigate we usually look through the side window and along the lubber line. The side window and lubber line never move. The lubber line is the direction of desired travel. Looking through the side window shows the direction relative to North on the Needle. (For example if we point the lubber line to the East and look through the side window we will see 90º) for our purpose today the big idea is that we always navigate relative to North. Once we have the lubber line pointed in the right direction we can turn the rotating Bezel until the double notch rests over North on the magnetic needle. As long as we keep North in the double notch we’re heading in our desired direction.
Trust is our lubber line. We walk in reference to our hope, our magnetic north. Everyone navigates through life in reference to their greatest hope. This is easily seen in people with addictions who actively work towards their next fix. It is less easily seen among more healthy people who have many hopes and occasionally conflicting desires. From a Christian perspective the healthiest people are those whom we call saints whose life and often death bear explicit witness to their deeply placed hope in Christ.
Locating your hope
Where is your hope placed? Our hope is where our hearts are open. The place of our greatest vulnerability is the place we have placed our hope. Hope and vulnerability are always found together. One of my great joys is standing with a couple as they marry one another. As they exchange vows they place their hope in each other and become intensely vulnerable to each other. No other human can love them as fully or hurt them as much as their spouse.
Life is full of opportunities to be vulnerable. Health and finances are two of the big ways people experience vulnerability. In the face of these life challenges we are tempted to place our primary hope in our health care providers or our financial future instead of seeing these challenges as part of our journey through our earthly pilgrimage. Having our hope in Christ changes our experience of life’s challenges.
When our hope is in Christ we pray for our health care providers as they care for us. We pray for the success of our employers or for the success of our self employment. Whenever we pray in this way we place our hope in Christ and strengthen our Soul Compass.
Our Soul Compass
For a Christian our greatest hope, the place of our greatest vulnerability, is reserved for God. The act of confession is a way we place our hope in God. As we bend the knee of our heart we orient it and open ourselves up to God. It is how we reorient ourselves and turn the bezel of our soul compass back to our hope in Christ when we have become distracted by the challenges of this life.
In Romans 5, the Apostle Paul tells us that endurance in the face of afflictions leads to character which deepens our hope. The challenges of life provide us with an opportunity to grow in faith and become more Christlike. Our Soul Compass, keeping our trust in God and our hope in Christ, is how we endure.