I Hope…

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IT WAS FUN BEING YOUNG. Full of zeal and idealism and energy. Ready to plunge into life and apply all those years of learning: grade school, high school, college, grad school. Ready to chase dreams and make them happen. Ready to do something important if not amazing.

But growing older also has its satisfactions. Experience. Perspective. Wisdom. Lessons learned, not in classrooms but through life’s pains and pleasures, its failures and successes, its deep valleys and high mountaintops.

And as I’m growing officially “old” now by some arbitrary measures, I’ve come to discover by hard-won experience life’s most important things. Love is king, of course. Family. Friends. Integrity. Perseverance.

But one of the most important virtues I’ve learned now to prize in life is….hope.

First Corinthians 13 speaks of “faith, hope, and love….these three.” And while love gets top billing, I’ve learned that hope is often equally indispensable.

The Bible says that “we are saved by hope.” I’ve learned how utterly true that is.

We simply can’t live without hope. Hope is what keeps you getting out of bed in the morning. Hope is what drives you to keep trying, even when it seems futile. Hope is the song you sing in the blackness of your personal midnight. Hope keeps the dying alive and the living energized.

Once we lose all hope, we’re finished. Hopelessness is lethal. The will goes home. Possibilities die. Dreams crumble to dust. No more reason to be can be found.

In “The Shawshank Redemption,” Andy Dufresne wrote to his friend Red: “Remember Red, hope is a good thing—maybe the best of things.” Later in the story, as Red goes searching for his friend Andy, he says to himself:

I hope I can make it across the border.
I hope to see my friend and shake his hand.
I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.
I hope.

Even though I’m older now, I too still hope.

I hope I get to enjoy my children and grandchildren for many more years.
I hope I can give love as generously as I’ve received it.
I hope to make a positive difference while I’m here, to as many as possible.
I hope to become less flawed and selfish and more like Jesus.
I hope “The Blessed Hope” will be soon.
I hope to see all those I love on “the other side.”
I hope you are there too.
I hope.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lara on February 19, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    You’re so incredibly right: Hope is life’s fuel–and you don’t realize it until you have a few years under your belt. I guess we have to go without it once or twice to realize that hope is essential to living. I’m often reminded of Proverbs 13:12: “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”

    This harmonizes with Matthew 12:20 (“A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench…”) and Matthew 5:22 (“…whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire”).

    Because hope is so vital, there’s something deeply evil about deliberately quashing it in others. While destroying people’s hope is not on our usual list of sins, I believe that in the day of judgment, those who have left despairing people in their path wherever they go will have much for which to answer.

    Reply

  2. Thanks for the comment…and especially for the verses.

    Without getting too political, I’ve noted the attempts on the part of some to quash hope, of which you wrote, as set forth by one presidential candidate who has made hope a central theme of his campaign.

    But I think the most urgent need for encouraging and instilling hope is in the children God gives us. What a gift it is when that happens! And what a tragedy when it doesn’t.

    All sinners need hope, so there’s plenty of places to spread some around!

    Reply

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