“You can live forty days without food, four days without water, four minutes without air, but not even four seconds without hope.” – Anonymous
It is laborious and depressing to try to muddle on when you feel hopeless. In my own precarious situation, I have noticed that the slightest development can ever so easily tip my emotional scales one way or the other. Yet, I believe hope is more than a half-hearted, wistful, emotional aspiration.
Hope is grounded in belief. For me, those beliefs include a loving God who was outlandish, unexpected, and extravagant in the way he loved through Jesus; and that love story is not over. As a matter of fact, I get to soak up his love and transfer it on to others right now; and if things fall apart, I am reminded that it is not the last chapter and I will never be abandoned by this loving God.
Hope is an attitude. Like the UHF dial on a 1970’s TV, it has to be constantly adjusted and carefully tuned in. A little change in weather and the signal gets fuzzy. It takes a constant adjustment process for our attitude to reflect our beliefs and not our emotions.
Hope is rooted in reality. Real hope has a real chance of really happening. Pie-in-the-sky hope, like a limp handshake; is less than sincere. Hope needs a real object that we are focused on and consumed by.
Hope is very hard work. Laboring to make our hope a reality, will probably be your life’s work. Everybody has hopes and dreams, but most people die with them being unrealized. Perhaps, even more people die having pushed them out of their minds because they perceived them to be undoable or unrealistic. Honestly, it will take more tenacity and flexibility than you can currently imagine for your hopes to be realized.
My hope is fueled by anger and frustration. Let me explain.
Our nation is locked in a polarized nightmare of paralysis with unsustainable debt, out of control healthcare costs, runaway, and decreasing world influence. The church is suffering from sexual scandals, shrinking memberships, a perceived loss of relevance, and the irony that many people are unable to make the connection between it and Christ. Our educational system, based on a medieval model, is a prohibitively expensive long-term commitment, unreasonable for many of today’s workers, and questionable in its effectiveness in preparing people for real jobs. Customer service has become a sadly inadequate, excessively automated, cost-saving, half-hearted, insincere attempt, which all too often, is totally frustrating. Social service in our nation is difficult to navigate, poorly coordinated, increasingly hard to sustain, and locked into a client/provider paradigm that assaults the dignity of those who use it. We can and must do better. There is a global awakening to the fact that many of our societal institutions are simply no longer serving us well.
My hope to address our urgent need for boldness and creativity lies not with those in positions of power, but with those who can find no place or no longer desire a place in the power structures of our culture. I stand in solidarity with my brother and sister outsiders. I have an unshakable belief that many of these people who have been shut or who have opted out of the power structures and conventions of our society are the visionaries who will become entrepreneurs that help the rest of us find our way. It was probably the trauma of finding themselves on the outside that forced them into their new desire to forget what they left behind and to dream about and fight for what could and should be.
My role is to encourage and equip them however I can.
I invite you to join me in becoming actively hopeful.
Originally posted January 16, 2012.