Friday, September 11, 2009

Hope Observed

In the last couple months I've observed some people in my life and how they are dealing with a little thing called Hope.  

One of my favorite authors, Erwin McManus, says this about hope in his book, Soul Cravings.
Our ability to endure, to persevere, to overcome is fueled by this one seemingly
  innocuous ingredient called hope.

When there is no future, there is no hope.
Where there is no hope, there is no reason to live.   There is only despair.
Our souls are not designed for despair.  It's not where we are intended to
live.   If we live there for too long, we will find ourselves
soul-sick. ...

We seem to live in a world that is determined to take it (hope) from us.

Amen to all of that.  But for right now, I'm relating quite a bit to the last line.  We seem to live in a world that is determined to take it from us.  The land of milk and honey, the land of opportunity and the one that says to pull yourself up by your bootstraps - that one, sometimes, just seems to wear my hope thin.

Then, I'm reminded of the people...

  • The 70 year old neighbor who is fighting cancer so he can enjoy just one more laugh with a friend - he clings to hope, he prays for hope and he imagines his future.  His attitude is all about hope and his treatments are working, by the way.

  • The middle aged man - a good man - whose despair overcomes the hope in his heart and no longer sees his future here on earth.  A sad day for many to lose someone so dear, they grasp for a ray of hope just to get through the darkness of losing him.

  • The middle aged woman, a recovering alcoholic:  Hope is the key that sets her free from the disease that has kept her trapped in fear for so long.

  • The young man who lives his life just going through the motions. He sees each day not as a new beginning but another to just survive.  But in spite of his troubles - he keeps on going.  He says he does not believe in God, yet he talks to me about him.  What he calls survival  looks a lot like hope to me. 

  • The man whose business is at it's worst since he began, presses on -  trying not to live in the space between what his goals were and where he actually is, but rather continues to live for today and have hope for his tomorrow.

All of them fighting their own fears and clinging to hope, living for today and looking forward to their future.  

I'll leave you with a line from one of my favorite movies...
Hope can be a dangerous thing.   Fear can keep you prisoner, Hope can set
you free.
Red, Shawshank Redemption

And of course my favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future. 
Living in Hope,
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Stefani said...

beautifully said Janel. Thank you for taking the time to post it.

Deb said...

We can live without alot of things.

But we can't make it.



He gives us hope.


Sweet dreams.

Anonymous said...

I heard some one say once and have always remembered it: God does not live in the past nor in the future. God is eternally in the present. The devil hopes we dwell on the past or dream of the future for then we miss God. I have always associated hope with the future, but I was wrong. As your examples prove: Hope is in the present. It is the belief in things to come, but it is the belief that gets us through today; through the now. It is the now, it is bright side of today; it is where God dwells.

Sheila said...

anonymous was me: Sheila. I still don't have this thing figured out! :)

Kristin said...

I love what Sheila had to say. And Janel, your examples were perfect. Beautiful post!

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