As my Year 2’s walked towards the hall for their gymnastics lesson the other day, their eyes lit up, and the excited chatter started.
I had set up the climbing frames, ladders, mats, horses, and everything else! It looked like a big adventure playground. They had not yet had a go on it, but they couldn’t wait. They had hope.
Hope is all about expectation in the unknown. Hope is about our desires and ambitions. Hope is excitement without guarantee.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 NIV
The young people were hoping for a good lesson. The young people were hoping to have fun! Perhaps in our own lives we put our hope in our football team having a good season. We hope to win a trophy. We may hope for a new job, a relationship or a holiday! Hope can often be the driving force that keeps us motivated and keeps us pressing on.
Hope is the polar opposite of despair. Hope is the one thing that keeps us going, and in our despair, we must still have hope. When we lose hope, we can end up utterly deflated and demotivated. Some of the young people I work with as I mentor have lost their sense of hope. They don’t believe they can achieve; they fear failure; they see no way out of their troubled situations.
It seems that in recent times, we have woken up each morning to tragedy in our news. Terrorism, natural disasters, accidental death. Even in 2016, so many popular celebrities died, there became a sense of “Who next?!”
It has lead to an ever increasing fear in society, of what will we be waking up to tomorrow? Whereas in the past, people would have an attitude of “Well, it can’t possibly happen to me!”, we are now experiencing a time of “This is getting very close to home. Will I, or my loved ones, be on the next tragic news report”. The hope of society has begun to dwindle.
One of my favourite books is “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King. Many of you may have seen the movie, but I can assure you, the book is better! The whole theme of the book is hope among despair.
For those who don’t know, two lifetime inmates, Andy and Red, strike up a friendship in Shawshank Penitentiary, and often ponder on leaving the prison and their hope for their life and friendship outside the walls of the prison.
There are a few select quotes which really cover the idea of hope in the midst of despair:
“Remember that hope is a good thing, Red, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – Andy Dufresne
“I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.” – Red
As Christian’s, we believe that hope comes through faith in Jesus. That while the world may suffer, that in a coming time, all oppression, pain, suffering, sickness and death will come to an end because Jesus has conquered all of these things by his resurrection from death.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 NIV
The quote by Red in the Shawshank Redemption speaks of a man who has known trial, and is awaiting paradise. Awaiting all the good things that have been promised to him. Awaiting joy in his new freedom. This resonates to me as a Christian, in the sense of knowing times of despair, desperation and loneliness, but then to find joy in Jesus, the only hope.
“The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;”
Lamentations 3:25 NIV
There are many times in life where we can lose hope, lose faith, lose confidence and doubt things which at times we were sure of. The political and social climate of the world can make us wonder if things will ever be right again. In our own strength, or by human hand, situations can often seem bleak. We are in a position of despair.
However, with a faith in Jesus, we can have hope.