A Reason for Hope
A post by Peter Pinedo
Hang On by NEEDTOBREATHE
I don’t need to list all the reasons there are to be worried and anxious right now. Neither do I know a single person who has not experienced doubt and anxiety from time to time, most especially during the new Covid reality that we are living in. Doubt is something even the most seemingly confident and self-assured persons undergo. But just as it is human to worry and doubt so is it to hope. By nature humans are a species defined by hope. What makes me say that? Any species that has endured the Black Plague, countless draughts and multiple world wars and has come out on top, stronger and better off than ever, has to be an incredibly strong and hopeful species.
At this point you may be thinking so many of those people who held onto hope ended up suffering and dying. You may argue that holding onto hope had nothing to do with humanity surviving plagues, famines and war. You may think that humanity has survived through nothing more than chance and genetics and that ideas such as hope are inconsequential or even silly optimism.
But I disagree. I posit that hope is both the defining characteristic of humanity and the concept which is responsible more than any other concept for the survival and flourishing of humankind. Finally, I believe that just as hope is responsible for the flourishing of humanity so it can be responsible for the flourishing of you and me.
Hope is not nice thoughts or happy ignorance. Hope is not childish. Too often we write off hope as good vibes. That is a mistake.
Neither is hope a magic fix to all of life’s problems. Hope must be grounded in reality. I can hope to wake up a millionaire in the morning as much as I want but it's just not going to happen. Hope can and does effectuate change but it takes time, dedication and it takes grit. The bible tells us to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15).
In other words we have to be able to back up our hope with hard work, dedication and prayer. Backed by those three things, hope is neither childish nor foolish but real and powerful.
To a Christian hope is more than just the desire for success and wealth. We hope in salvation and eternal life and we trust that God has a plan for us in this life. Too often we distrust God. We think if we entrust God with our lives He will take it and somehow afflict us with suffering. I know I believe that sometimes. But as Christians we are called to rise above that. God wants the best for us, He wants the best for me. Everyday I have to challenge myself to believe that. Going back to the bible Christ tells us that he is not only the Good Shepherd but also the gate through which the sheep must pass in order to enter into the good pasture. Christ says “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Not only does Christ want us to live our life well but He wants us to live it abundantly. We profess to believe this. But do we really? I know that more than half of the time, I don’t.
Believe me, trusting God is hard. Why should we when we undergo disappointment, rejection and heartbreak not just once but over and over again? But at the same time, to be a Christian is to trust in Christ, to trust that He loves and is in control of our lives. That His plan for us is good and will bring so much joy.
If we don’t trust in God’s plan for us is good we should no longer be Christian. Why profess belief in something we don’t actually believe? As Christians we profess belief in a God who not only created and formed us in our mothers’ wombs but also came down to suffer and die as one of us. If I believe, like truly, actually believe those assertions then we have a reason for hope. Because that person who is both man and God is in control of our lives.
In 1941 Europe was on the brink of total occupation. Under Hitler Nazi Germany had conquered France and vast swathes of the continent. Countless innocents were being carted off to concentration camps to undergo torture and execution. England had just undergone a series of bombardments and was poised to be the next nation to fall victim to more torture and execution. It was during this time that Winston Churchill gave a moving speech in which he spoke the words; “never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
I have noticed that in moments when I despair and give into anxiety and sadness I make bad decisions. Almost as if despair was the weapon of someone who wanted me to make more mistakes, someone who quite the opposite of wanting the best for me wants to drag me down into more misery. So I am calling his bluff. Here is another reason for hope, despair is the weapon of the enemy.
As such I reject despair as nothing more than a lie and a trap from the father of lies and traps. I have a real reason for hope. While I do not expect to be free from making mistakes from this moment forward I can fight to never again yield to the weapons of the enemy.
Desperationis est hostium: Despair is the enemy. Fidem, Spe, Veritas. Faith and hope are truth.
I reject despair and choose hope. Will you?