Hope.  It is one of the most strange of thoughts and feelings. It is sometimes completely unjustifiable and sometimes it is all that is left.  You find the concept of hope alive in all of mankind wherever you might look.  Hope lives in the breast of a poor goat herder in the mountain passes of Afghanistan, and the breast of the richest man alive today.  It drives the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick.  It drives the slave to dream of freedom.  It drives our dreams.  It girds against our fears.

I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest.

Dalai Lama

Hope is so quintessential to our survival, that it is found in the simplest of things.  It provides strength when we are weak.  It provides warmth when we are cold.  It is the promise of a new dawn.  It is the light at the end of the tunnel.

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.

Gilbert K. Chesterton

Why is hope so universal?

I could take the easy way out and say that it is a gift from God.  While this is completely true, let’s think about hope a little bit.  To answer why it is universal, maybe we should look at why we hope.  To think about why we hope, we should consider what we hope for as that might be more illustrative.

If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.
Lance Armstrong

Hope for each person is different.  You might hope for recovery from an illness or an injury.  You might hope for improvement in your marriage.  You might hope for financial security.  You might hope for a restoration of liberty and justice in the world.  You might hope to see Christ return before you die.  Or you might simply hope to hand the world over to your children and grandchildren a little better off than you received it yourself.  What you hope for can vary and change over time even.

Hope is a uniquely human trait as far as we know, (although I swear my dog hopes that my boys eat messy so she gets to help “clean up.”).  What makes it even more interesting is that, even in the worst of circumstances, we find people clinging to hope.  Hope is a life raft on the turbulent seas of life.  Could God have given us hope to enable us to live?

Courage is like love, it must have hope for nourishment.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Imagine a world without hope.  Why would we bother waking up in the morning to go to our jobs?  Why would we bother having children?  What purpose would there be in freedom and liberty?  Without hope, without the innate dreams of improvement and betterment for ourselves and others, there is nothing.  Everything would be utterly meaningless without hope.

What makes this even more paradoxical is that we truly are without hope.  The human race is divisive, destructive, warring, jealous, vindictive, and ultimately, savage.   But at the same time, the hope that God has blessed us with shines His light on us.  It brings out the best in us.  The divine spark that He gives so that we might live ignites an inferno within us when we have hope.

Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 25:5

We dream of impressive works of art, beautiful passages of music, poetry, and literature.  We tame the wilderness.  We creatively destroy in order to create, in imitation of our Maker, in order to improve the world for us.  We conceive, we create, we repair, we rebuild, we inspire, we live.  We hope.  We dream.  We launch ourselves toward our dreams, whatever they may be.

Be strong and take heart,
    all you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 31:24

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

2 Corinthians 3:12

The same vicious nature inherent in us as humans is an amazing source of power when coupled with hope.  Instead of warring for material gain, we make war so that we might have peace.  We fight against absolute evil incarnate so that we might have security in this life and provide it not just for ourselves, but for all mankind.  We charge into burning buildings to save a stranger who is trapped.  We throw ourselves in the path of moving cars to push a child to safety.  We sacrifice ourselves, sometimes even our very lives, so that others may live.  These are not logical actions by themselves, but they are driven by hope and love.

The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

As far gone as this Republic may seem to be, we can not lose hope.  Hope drives us to be strident and defiant of tyranny.  It drives us to confront oppression and the loss of liberty confident and calm.  It will keep us warm in the cold to come.  By God’s infinite mercy and grace, it will see us through to the restoration of this Republic, once more founded and centered on the Truth and the Hope of the Lord.

You will be secure, because there is hope;
    you will look about you and take your rest in safety.

Job 11:18

Hope.  There is always hope.

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