When I write or speak about picking up the pieces of our lives, I share my own personal life experiences of hope as well as examples from scripture and science.
Throughout the Bible, we read stories of God interacting with His people where faith, hope, and trust are played out. Within science, we know that the thoughts we dwell on will have an impact on us mentally, physically and spiritually.
Hope can change the chemistry in the body.
Hope says there is the possibility of something good happening. It is not only a belief but a feeling that “something desirable” might happen. Without hope, we give up or find ourselves repeating the words made popular in a song of the ’60s that said, “Is this all there is”?
When we are encouraged, we gain confidence. Within confidence, we find courage.
With encouragement, we become motivated – motivated to look for solutions to tough problems and difficult life situations.
When we are feeling helpless and hopeless, our energy is drained and depression settles into every cell and fiber of our body rendering us at times almost catatonic. Hope can change that in an instant. Hope allows us to focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t do.
When we feel hopeful, we expect a different outcome. We don’t worry about whether the earth will keep rotating; the sun will come up in the morning or go down at night. When the sun is hidden in clouds, we know it still exists and takes for granted that it is there.
Hope played out in our lives expects that tomorrow has the possibility to be brighter than today, that our pain will recede, and that we can experience joy again. Hope says that when the world is all dark and we think we have been locked in a prison of despair, that we can place our expectation on a God who we can call upon in our time of need and trouble. We can go to Him anytime and anywhere.
When our expectation is placed on God, we believe that He exists, that He loves us, and that He will never leave us or desert us. He will give us the strength to endure. Hope believes God’s word that tells us He cares about us personally, and that His love is so great, He is willing to die for us. In fact He did – on the cross at Easter and rose again.
Hope never gives up
Hope doesn’t quit. When we are exhausted and think we can’t do anything more, we hear God whispering to us, “I am there with you. Try again – one more time”. We feel His arms carry us. We hear his promises in our ear and feel His strength flow into us. He intervenes in our lives.
Hope is surrender
Hope relies on something greater than ourselves. When we surrender to the knowledge that we do not know it all, will never know it all and we need God in order to survive, we begin to experience hope. We recognize that we are not sufficient unto ourselves.
Sometimes in that surrender, we are asked to let go and allow. The focus is no longer making something happen, but surrendering to what is happening and adjusting our responses. In that surrender, we find peace in acceptance. Hope than reveals itself in looking for blessings in all things.
The Easter story is that revealing of hope for us that there is life after death – a new life that goes beyond the grave; a hope of salvation made possible by God. The Christmas story is where it all begins. Within our tragedies lies new hope and new life as well.
Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC
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