Wisdom in a small group


From hope to dependency

The evening began with a simple question, “What do you like about being a Christian.” It ended with wisdom that didn’t hit me until the day after.

Mary answered first, simply, and clearly, “Hope.”  Mary’s a counselor that I haven’t quite figured out.  She’s not reluctant to talk but she usually doesn’t jump in first. Maybe she felt more comfortable because our group met in her home for the first time.  Home turf and all. Mary added some relevant comments that others in the friendly circle eagerly affirmed.

Hope’s context is distress, difficulty, uncertainty and any number of uncomfortable terms.  It didn’t take long for the darker side of hope to enter the conversation.  Barry, a no nonsense guy, chimed in with a personal comment, “Thinking back on it, the times I felt closest to the Lord are the difficult times.”  I always like it when no nonsense guys talk about their feelings.

Barry knows that our closeness with the Lord isn’t based on feelings. He knows Jesus is always near.  However, in this case he spoke of experiencing closeness.  As his comments wound down, Jack chimed in with the final bit of wisdom.

Jack is sensitive; a touchy feely type, so when he speaks, he speaks humbly and gently.  Looking across the room at Barry, he said, “Dependence — the times we feel closest to the Lord are times of dependence.”

Our conversation circled around a bit, we prayed, hung out snacking on moist coffee cake, and left encouraged.

The morning after it hit me.  Mary, Barry, and Jack, along with everyone else in the circle had talked our way into profound truths.

Hope led to difficulties which led to dependence.  It isn’t what we have that matters.  It’s what we don’t have.

Grace Freak

Dan Rockwell

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9 Comments on “Wisdom in a small group”

  1. Jared Young Says:

    We are asked often in our training as New Tribers, “what is your motivation?” And it often leads to experiential or physical motives. But there is always someone in the group that takes a different route and says something profound. One of our teachers said his motivation was that he gets to work for the God of creation. His mindset of of complete humility, he had the big picture in mind when he said that. I think that ties into hope somehow, but I’m not sure of it all right now.

    Is it weird that hope is not apart of the 9 segment fruit of the spirit? but faithfulness and love are? Why would Paul mention faith, hope, love and the greatest is love in 2 Corinthians? I haven’t researched this out, it just came to my head as I was writing. It is interesting though.

    • Dan Rockwell Says:

      Jared, thanks for your questions. Perhaps other Grace Freak readers will have something to add. The best to you, Dan

    • Ashlin Says:


      Couldn’t figure out how else to track you down. I want to visit The Well! Truthfully, I’ve only listened to one message from your lead pastor titled “The Spirit.” I like what seems to be going on there – very simple and Jesus focused.

      From PA,

  2. Angel Ribo Says:

    We have been going exactly through these stages in the last 7 months or so as we have been walking by faith in this new path of moving toward being in business for ourselves. It seems that it is a repetitive cycle that results in developing discipline, trust and self control.

  3. Hope- is very much like faith, isn’t it? I agree that it is about what we don’t have, creating a dependence on God, but also looks to the future. It captures our longing and instinctive knowing of a better, higher place. Think of U2’s “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for..”

    And to answer Jared’s question – I think hope is not a “fruit” because it is less of an attitude/discipline and more of a context of the human condition – maybe even an emotion. I don’t know – like you, that just came out of my head.

    • Dan Rockwell Says:


      Thanks for sharing your thoughts “right out of your head.” Realizing the context of hope lifts hope above a frivolous emotion.

      I think hope and faith are different in that hope looks toward the future more than faith. Yet they are in a dynamic relationship. Loosing one means loosing the other. When I loose faith I loose hope.

      I’m glad you stopped in,


  4. landsway Says:

    To me hope is anticipation. We do not hope for the things we already have; but the things that we look forward to because of the expectation we have that our God of mercy and grace will take care of us just because of who He is. Our hope and our confidence need to be in Him only.

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