I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. – Psalm 27:13 (New King James Version)
Scotty stood at the front of the conference room, as he had done many times before with my leadership team, crisp checkered button down, pressed slacks and inspired eyes, waxing eloquent on how to get from here to there with our strategic plan. He is an engineer and I am not. I deal in concepts. He brings the structure to my whims and draws my team toward our plans of making a difference in public service. But this day, he said something that didn’t sit right with me like marinara laced with heavy garlic. “Hope is not a strategy.”
What did he mean hope wasn’t a strategy! My heart raced alongside my mind and I was agitated like when a prickly thistle is poking your ankle through your sock after a hike. I get it, I mean we are talking about planning and taking action for ongoing business operations, I said to myself. I understood that action was required to “keep the lights on” as they say. Why was I so irked?
A few weeks later, with my focus on work culture this time, I invited Walt to guide my team through a breakthrough exercise in attitude. He pulled up a stool to the u-shaped gallery of faces and softly inquired, “what’s the one thing you have control over each day?” “My attitude,” a manager chimed, and he coached us in the art of ownership. And then suddenly in the middle of a beautiful take to the basket, he flagrantly fouled like my 13-year-old when he’s over the elbows in the paint. “Hope is not a strategy.”
What! Stop! Wait! It’s my only strategy.
“Hope is not a strategy” irritated me like the grit that makes a beautiful pearl inside the dingy shell of a clam. As I reflect on Easter, the rub of it makes me realize that it’s not hope itself that’s the strategy – it’s what you put your hope in; it’s who you put your hope in.
Reflect with me. Easter is the reminder that even in the darkness of our circumstances or the depth of our bad choices, we are not defeated because Jesus overcame the darkest hour and the heaviest burden so that we could find forgiveness and new life in Him.
The goodness of the Lord is available to us here and now – He is our hope. He is our strategy.