The more I think and learn about hope, the more I feel like hope is indispensable for the human being.
There is always something in us that longs for something greater, something better, something deeply satisfying…something more. It would seem that hope is even more necessary than comfort, or shelter, or food, because in situations that are objectively very bad in these terms, hope makes it bearable. Physical or emotional suffering is made bearable and even negligible depending on the degree of hope you have. Reverse that situation – so give someone all the wealth and power and luxury of the world and people still commit suicide out of despair or a lack of hope.
The question we must ask is: How do you maintain hope in our world today?
Not a lofty hope that is ignorant of the realities of the world
Not a fake hope that is put-on
Not a temporary hope that gets disillusioned and cynical
But a sustainable, genuine, and earthy hope.
I don’t think you could base the hope on anything in this world – not in things or other people or yourself. Because then your hope will definitely fail you, so you end up in despair, until you find the next fickle thing to put your hope in, and then that fails. So either a hardening and cynicism begins to enter your heart or you continue to naively hope and despair.
So we must base our hope on something that is out of this world. And yet it must involve this world paradoxically or else you would want leave this world or you would disengage in a way is helpful to nobody.
And I suspect that Jesus Christ was the most hopeful person in the world. I have imagined that he may have had a conversation with the Father before coming down to earth to be crucified that went something the lines of: “Father, do you think they will turn and realise? Do you think they will open the door when I knock? I don’t know if they will, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.” The truth is that no-one is more hopeful than the man Jesus Christ. And no-one wants to make things right, no-one wants justice, more than Jesus Christ. We just have trouble seeing and believing that reality.
So I hope, that we would be a people who follow after the heart of Jesus Christ. To the extent that we do, we will have a real and tangible hope that is contagious that others feel when they are around you. And we will be a people outrageously hopeful, yet earthy and engaged; outrageously optimistic and idealistic, yet soberly real. These will be beautiful people indeed.