The Droste Effect. Are you familiar with it? According to wise-geek.com, the Droste Effect is, "a special type of visual effect which is created when an image contains a smaller version of itself. These recursive images can potentially repeat infinitely..."
So then, what is a Droste Hope?
Throughout the month of December, I kept getting nudges by the Spirit as I pondered what God's phrase would be for me in 2021. I knew the overall theme was hope. But what kind of hope? There are SO many aspects of hope relevant to the life of the believer.
Adjectives swirled in my head: Intentional Hope. Triune Hope. Triumvirate Hope. Perpetual Hope. Irresistible Hope.
I knew Romans 5:1-5 were my theme verses for the year:
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NET)
In these five verses, we read of God's eternal hope--a hope IN the future with God in heaven. But that's not all. Because of what Christ did on the cross, we have been declared righteous. We have peace. We have hope. And here, our hope rests on a past event--Jesus' once-for-all death and resurrection. And because of that, we are now IN Christ. But there's more. We have the Holy Spirit IN us, offering us His day-to-day presence, to lead, guide, and comfort. In our present sufferings--sufferings all of humanity faces--we are promised a hope that does not disappoint.
Hope IN the past. Hope IN the present. Hope IN the future.
Last week, my hubby preached on these very verses, adding more insight into what the Spirit was already telling me. You probably noticed that these verses also speak of the Trinity's involvement in HOPE:
God is the Master Planner, making a way to offer the world hope.
Jesus is the Master ImPlementer of that hope plan.
The Holy Spirit is the Master Pilgrim, walking with us, giving us daily hope.
Hope found IN our Triune God.
IN. Such a profound and packed preposition when it comes to our relationship with the Triune God. And what a unique relationship it is, for it is one where I, as a believer, am IN Christ and Christ is IN me. It's the Droste Effect in my relationship with the Trinity--infinite and perpetual. That's the vertical relationship.
But what about my horizontal relationships as I walk with others?
How do I connect a Droste Hope to my relationships here and now?
As one becoming more an introvert than an extrovert (and even more-so since COVID-19), here's where the IN preposition gets tough for me. To be "ALL IN" isn't easy. But I know that's also part of living in hope as I offer hope and engage fully in my relationships. To be INtentionally INvolved.
Heb. 10:23,24 (NET): "And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,"
Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh help me LORD to be that in and for others!
I recently finished reading the book of Job, (As an aside, the word "hope" is mentioned 18 times in the NIV translation of the book of Job.) and was struck anew at the final chapter. Not the part about God restoring Job's family and riches. That I knew. But the part where God tells Job's "friends," to not just offer sacrifices for speaking lies about God, but to do so in Job's presence so that Job could pray for them. Then, and only then, would God accept their sacrifice! What? Job's prayers were THAT powerful? Yup.
I am challenged by that short epilogue. Challenged to be more intentional in praying for others. Challenged to be more aware of praying IN the authority of Christ and His name. Challenged to live IN and under His kingdom rule as I go deeper and deeper into living a Droste Hope, with God and with others.
As a friend of mine used to say often, "Just show up." It is what I want to do. It is what I'm called to do: To show up IN all my relationships and to offer the hope found IN Christ alone!
Thus begins 2021--the year of the Droste Hope!