Friday, April 2, 2010
Look in the dictionary and it is defined as "to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to believe that events or circumstances will turn out for the best."
Hope undergirds our existence. It is with hope that parents bring a new child into the world. It is with hope that a tearful young mother sends her beloved child to the first day of school, knowing that new doors and
challenges await. Hope causes a family to move across the country in pursuit of a new job and a better life.
Hope sustains us, encourages us, drives us on to attempt to improve our lot in life, because we believe-
we hope in- a favorable outcome. Hope for a new dawn, a new opportunity.
Sometimes, momentous life decisions are made where the facts end and hope begins. Hope that circumstances will turn out for the best supports us when we step out into the sometimes vast and terrifying unknown that is life. It provides the strong arms that lift us to meet new challenges and opportunities.
But what happens when hope is gone? What happens when there is no confidence in the outcome? What happens when the hope for the best outcome is replaced by the certainty of failure or heartache?
Hope then seems like a cruel joke, as life crushes the promise that was desired and despair sets in. As all have seen, sometimes too many times, life can crush hope and snuff out the belief that circumstances will
turn out for the best. The child that was brought into the world with great expectation develops an incurable illness. The education that was to open so many doors yields to learning disabilities and frustration.
The job and the promise of financial stability evaporate as the economy contracts and employers reduce their workforce.
All have experienced the point in life when hope has been replaced with despair, either personally or through the life of a loved one. The realization that hope is gone is one of the most painful and devastating
emotions that one can experience. For some, this sense of despair lasts throughout their life and hope is not welcome to dwell in their heart again.
The promise of the Easter season reminds us of that despair has been vanquished and that hope has been redeemed. The imperfections, pains, and despair of life are acknowledged and the realization is that this life will never be just as we have hoped. There is, however, a perfect hope that shines forth like a blazing sun, a hope that is signified by an open tomb and a cry of "He is risen!"
The importance of this season is to remind us that our hope in temporal things and outcomes will never fully satisfy our longings, but that there is a hope for all of mankind that is unshakable and does not disappoint.
During this most joyous and holy time, may your hope, real hope, be renewed.