In just a 24 hour period Oklahoma experienced record heat, deadly storms, long-tracking tornadoes and an earthquake. In the past month I read the news about the Boston bombings, talked with someone whose parent is dying and discovered another marriage crumbling. How do we cope? How do we handle the stress? To whom do we turn? Too often we turn to the couch of a physician, the doctor’s office for pills, the bed of another, or the bottle to ease the pain. Why wouldn’t we? A friend of mine drove to a local town demolished by a tornado to sift through the rubble that was his office. An entire neighborhood is reduced to twisted metal and splintered wood. Someone planted bombs in a marathon to maim and destroy the lives of hundreds, if not thousands. The one who has nurtured you your whole life lies in a bed waiting, and possibly planning, on dying. The marriage that outwardly seems to be so wonderful is rotting from within. It is no wonder that we pop pills and drink ourselves to that uncaring oblivion. We must find a way to ease this pain we feel. We are determined to replace pain with pleasure, hurt with happiness.
Why hope? It seems to do no good.
I would expect many to feel this way who have never tasted the goodness of God or have been hurt by those who represent God. Trust and hope are tied together in a neat little package that some wish were separated. How can I hope for something where there is no trust? How can I hope the bombings and killings will stop without trust in the government’s ability to handle or control this situation? How can I hope for healing when I cannot trust that God will do what I want? How can there be hope in a marriage where trust left years ago? Is hope fleeting? Is hope failing? Is hope futile and for the simple-minded? We realists live above this unnecessary emotion right? Logic wins in that world, but love loses.
We hope because it raises our vision from today to tomorrow. We hope because the pain of the past is replaced with a promise of a preferred future. We hope because down deep we still know that God is bigger than us. God has our best interests in mind even though our feelings claim fault. We hope because that is all we have. Hope brings warmth. Hope brings vision. Hope raises the spirit. Though all else seems to fail, believe there is hope.
Believe. Hope. Pray. Live.
1 Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish: 2 I called to the Lord in my distress,and He answered me. (Jonah 2)