To live without hope is not really to live at all. In fact, some people literally die who have given up hope. Hope allows us to get up in the morning and face the day. We move forward with hope and the expectation that life will get better.
My friend Ellen (name changed) was suffering a bout with depression. She had literally lost all hope. She didn't want to be in despair, but she was. It was a dark time and place for her to be. Ellen sought help from others and prayed daily to have her spirits lifted.
She recalls vividly the day hope returned to her life. It was springtime and she had wandered into a flower shop to buy bulbs for planting. Fragrant and lovely red, pink, and yellow blooms greeted her as she pushed through the door. Ellen drew a deep breath and slowly felt the seeds of hope germinate inside. She found herself grateful for the essential, life giving nature of hope. To this day, she loves both springtime and gardens.
We cannot allow despair, the world's injustices or comparing of our lives with others' lives (who always seem to be better off than we are) to deprive us of hope. Even emotional and physical scars we may have endured at the unfeeling hands of others should not have the power to rob us of hope.
Hope provides an anchor to our souls
In biblical usage, the word hope indicates certainty. Hope does not mean we sit idly by wishing and waiting for something better to happen. Rather hope implies confidence that God will deliver on what he has promised. Hope provides an anchor to our souls and propels us to act in faith. Hope and faith are concepts that are often linked in bible passages. It is difficult to have one without the other.
How do we acquire this kind of hope? We're looking not just for everyday hope, but for perfect, or whole, hope that allows us to act with complete certainty. This kind of hope allows us to become a source of radiating light.
How to obtain hope
In the Christian faith, we obtain hope by attaching ourselves to the wellspring of the Savior's love. We become steadfast and immovable in Christ. We no longer drift. We no longer waver. We don't allow unwanted change, trials or the vagaries of life to result in the loss of our hope. We choose to first confront and then move past our challenges. We look to Christ with a kind of joyous expectation. We allow faith to be our anchor in troubling seas.
Christ invites all to come unto him and partake of his goodness. He invites black, white and brown, bond and free, male and female, believers and unbelievers. All are alike unto God. Having a relationship with a God who loves and accepts us improves the quality of our lives.
Looking outward, not inward
The other essential companion of hope and faith is charity. In the New Testament we read, "And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three." (I Corinthians 13:13.) Adding faith and charity to our hope allows us to radiate light and love to others. We have a love of God and of our fellowman. We have a perfect brightness of hope.
In my own life, I lost hope first. It was hard for me to see a future that would be brighter. I moved forward anyway, because of my children. Next I lost faith. I no longer believed in a God who loved me or cared for me. It was an easy step from there to lose charity as well. I became so self-absorbed and so self-focused, I hardly knew there was anyone else out there. It was as if I lived in a cave.
When my faith returned, with it came hope for a brighter further. With it came charity and a renewed desire to help and care for others.
Hope, faith, and charity
Faith, hope, and charity work together and become stronger as they reinforce each other. This requires us to be practicing Christians. Not just Christians in name only.
Hope, faith, and charity can conquer despair, pain, disappointment and anger. It is the glad tidings of the gospel that steady us and produce a perfect brightness of hope. We move forward, having a love of God and all mankind.
God created us that we might have joy. Let us live to dance in the rain.