It is relatively impossible for me to talk about hope without talking about spirituality. Because in my opinion, if there is no faith source, how can there be genuine hope? What is there to have hope in?
If everything that surrounds me that I can experience with my five senses has failed me, it is natural to lose hope. If a lover leaves, a friend betrays, my job bullies me, or my finances don’t show up, I may lose hope in those things. Those things are “of this world.” But if my hope is in something greater than myself, I can maintain that hope even when everything else has failed…even when maintaining hope doesn’t make any sense. As I am writing this, a Bible verse that I have often tried to understand comes to mind:
New International Version (NIV)
3 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
I used to wonder how in the world could hope “put us to shame?” But now I understand. When we have been rejected or failed over and over again and still keep trying…when everyone is saying to face “reality” and we continue to believe in miracles…and when all the critics tell us to give up hope…but we don’t…
And we stand up for our hope and proclaim it loudly…
IT WILL HAPPEN FOR ME!
There could be shame in this because some people may think we’re crazy.
The night before my father passed away, a nice young doctor came in to his hospital room to check on his vitals, etc. My mom and I were visiting my dad, who had been in the hospital for about a week after having had heart failure. We really hadn’t understood what was going on with him, until this doctor, after examining my dad, turned to us and began to have an honest conversation with us about his condition.
As my mom touched my dad’s hand she said,
“He’s so cold. Why does he feel so cold?”
The doctor replied,
“His body is shutting down. There is not much else we can do for him now.”
There was no hope for him to live. My dad died the next evening.
I think when we lose hope…when we get disappointment after disappointment, rejection after rejection, failure after failure…
We get cold…
And we shut down…
Our challenge is to stay warm and to stay open. As long as we’re alive, we not only have a second chance, but a nine hundred and thirty second chance and beyond. Because if we stop hoping, all that we hope for may soon pass away.