We all know what hope is. But I find it downright difficult to define it. The best I can offer is illustrations, one negative and one positive.
“I can’t breathe.” Asthma often held my father like a vise. His wheezing breaths frightened me. Today the mere words still strike fear into my heart. Not being able to breathe, because of illness, lack of air, injury, or violence, is terrifying. “I have no hope,” is equally terrifying, for as our bodies need air and breath to sustain life, our souls and spirits, our “inner selves”, need hope to survive.
THE INVITATION OF HOPE
On the positive side, hope is an invitation to go on living. Hope assures us that there is something bigger than we are, that our lives have meaning, that there is a source of strength to see us through the current or looming crisis, that there is something good in the future. Hope says, “There is something to live for. Take a baby-step forward.”
|Hope says, “There is something to live for. Take a baby-step forward.”|
The optimists of the human race seem to have an endless source of hope within themselves. Frankly, they puzzle me as they bounce back from defeat or discouragement with fresh enthusiasm. But even optimists meet situations that overwhelm their natural good cheer. The melancholics, of which I am one, have a harder time finding that kind of hope. Still, I think we have a slight advantage because we know that hope needs to come from beyond ourselves. Mere human optimism will fall short at some point.
OUR STEADY SOURCE OF HOPE
We need a steady source of hope, an open invitation. Around 740 BC, a Jewish prophet named Isaiah wrote on Gods’ behalf, “Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life.”1 About seven hundred and seventy years later, Jesus repeated the invitation, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” 2
Why do I write about hope? I find feeling hopeful a slippery goal, often eluding my grasp. I find the God of the Bible a steady source of hope, a place where I can breathe again. Perhaps my stories will be your invitation to look for Him and let your spirit breathe.
- Isaiah 55:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
- Matthew 11|:28 New Living Translation (NLT)
|Read more writings on hope from our Hope Connections authors|
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