Hope. It is simply one of the most amazing words there is. It flies into the capricious face of loss, pain and tragedy and says, "This is not the end."
Hope gives us reason to live, a reason to hold on through our painful and sometimes seemingly pointless circumstances, it is a knowing that there must be something at the end. Hope is seeing through the eyes of faith that there is indeed a point to all this, though at present the darkness may be so thick we can barely see a foot in front of us...
Hope goes beyond our current circumstances and believes against all odds that the situation, no matter how dire, how bleak, how painful, unfair or evil, that it WILL NOT have the final say.
It is the golden thread permeating every great tale, every great adventure or epic fable and it is this thread of hope that causes the hero or the focused few to go on, to push through, no matter what comes their way.
For those who have eyes to see, or moreover those who are willing for God to show them, this golden thread of life permeates every one of life's difficult situations. Especially those that would otherwise cause us to give up, to give in, to surrender, to die broken and unfulfilled. Or worse yet, to give in and to become something we were never meant to be, a human animal using whatever means necessary to survive at any cost.
Because even faced with death Hope gives us assurance, it gives peace and calm and when faced with it, allows us to die with dignity. It teaches us that death is not the end; it allows us to see that so much more is taking place than we had ever imagined, that with our faith and life secure in the arms of Christ (the author and finisher of our faith), death is only the transition from our earthly life to our spiritual one.
Without hope is despair
The absence of Hope (being despair) is what drives people mad, into the dark, endless pit of madness, into insanity and eventually suicide. I have been gripped by despair a few times in my life and it is a dreadful thing. To be standing on the precipice of that echoing chasm of darkness, of nothingness and to have your soul gripped with a cold emptiness with no hope of return... is a fearful experience and one I would not wish upon my worst enemy.
Luckily for me the love of God went deeper and pulled me out, set me in a safe place and held me secure, were it not for His hand, who knows where I would have ended up?
Sometimes in life we lose hope because of pain, loss or tragedy, but God wants to offer us HIS hope so he can use it to bring about something wonderful, something amazing in our lives.
One of my favourite movies (if not my favourite) is The Shawshank Redemption, in it is told the story of an innocent man, Andy Defresne played by Tim Robbins, sent to prison for a crime he did not commit.
All throughout his long and unjust sentence he somehow never lets the walls or the system break him, though incarcerated and robbed of most of his rights he somehow lives outside the walls that hold him.
This is seen by a select few, with those who have eyes to see, mainly by his friend Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding played by Morgan Freeman. By the end we find out it is hope that causes his peace, his assurance, his calm amidst the pain and chaos in the cage he is contained in. It is his hope which eventually breaks the walls around him and in which he finds his freedom at the end of his most unjust circumstances.
It contains one of my favourite quotes, Andy has penned a letter to Red after he has gained his freedom, "Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies."
Every perfect gift
If you've given up hope, then Hope one day that you will hope again and through it God will sustain you and bring about something beautiful in your life. Because as the Good Book says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows." So if you've lost hope... ask Him for His. Paul registered it as one of the big three.
And as a dear friend and mentor once told me, "Even when it seems like there is no hope... there's still hope."
Tim Everton is from South Australia, is a youth worker by trade and runs his own small business making miniature things. In his off-time he enjoys making more miniature things, playing board games hanging out at the beach and seeking out the next best cafe latte.
Tim Everton’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-everton.html