More Hope

What Hope Does
The consequences of shattered hope are pretty obvious; depression, lack of motivation, loss of appetite, inability to sleep and spiritual ennui just to name a few. When my heart sinks to a place where I refuse to allow the rays of God’s goodness to light a path of hope, I find these dark tendencies vying for a roll in my mind games.  It doesn’t stop with me though. This internal struggle seeps out in the way I relate to others. Thus the consequences of my own hopelessness, breeds hopelessness into the world around me.

On the other hand, however, the consequences of maintaining hope aren’t always as obvious. The first ones to surface are usually the converse of the seedy list of desperation listed above. Instead of depression, desperation and lack of motivation hope builds in me a motivation toward good. It spurs me to action. Hope presses me toward my Savior.

And as this happens, the most obvious consequence of hope surfaces. In the middle of grief in what might seem like an endless, tragic situation, I live with joy! Yes, hope in God leads invariably to joy.  What happens then is nothing short of God’s divine in the midst of mundane: joy seeps out shining like diamonds against the black coal of misery.

The Apostle Peter admonished the believers to, “be ready always to give an answer for the hope that lies in you.” Clearly the expectation behind this verse, is that hope will manifest itself in some obvious way that will cause those around us to be curious. This kind of curiosity-building effect was something I had not really considered, as I railed against the pity I could imagine others extending to me.  Over time as I have grappled with hopelessness, however, I have begun to understand the tremendous opportunity hope affords in this life!

Hope gives my testimony depth. It invites curiosity. For who in their right mind, in my situation would find reason to hope outside of God himself? As I’ve faced this question, either directly asked or implied by acquaintances, other inmates’ families, or even law enforcement, it’s been my opportunity to “give a reason for the hope that lies in me.” Hope validates the truth I live by.

In the midst of great strife, David cried out in Psalms 27, “I am confident that I shall yet see the goodness of the Lord in this life…” David’s hope in the Lord, in spite of his enemies’ dogged pursuit, drew others to him. As a matter of fact, in a short while he had a ragtag band of 600 outcasts who had gathered to him, willingly submitting to his leadership. These hopeless wanderers, found hope in this man of God, who insisted in maintaining hope in the midst of terrible injustices. David is a shining example of the consequences of hope. It bleeds out of us into the lives of the hopeless around us, sparking their curiosity, and giving us the opportunity to “give a reason for the hope that lies in us.”

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