A Deep Hope

Hope. It is not easy to hope. We throw the word around as if it is simple to hope, easy and is always accessible. Sometimes we believe hope is just a feeling or a wishful dream. In reality hoping is much deeper and much more difficult.

  It can be a struggle to hope, to hold onto hope. It isn’t easy. The band U2 speaks of this struggle well in their song Peace on Earth.

Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Peace on Earth

To tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on Earth

Jesus in the song you wrote
The words are sticking in my throat
Peace on Earth

Hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won't rhyme
So what's it worth
This Peace on Earth

Hope and history won’t rhyme. The realities of the present world and the world as it has been do not rhyme with the hope of all things being made new. War, death, struggle, injustice, inner turmoil and much more. All these things make it hard to hope that things will be made new.

As we struggle in hope, two things are required. Waiting and blindness. Hope requires waiting. Creation groans for redemption, as do we. Creation is in labor pains as it waits for the second coming. To hope requires waiting and sometimes that is a painful waiting as the labor pains come and go, preparing for new life (Romans 8). Through disappointments, frustrations, unmet hopes and dreams, we wait.

Hope also requires blindness. We do not get to see what is to come immediately. We do not get to know why or have the answers. Hope is not hope if it is seen (Romans 8:24). Hope is blind.

To hope is sometimes a deep struggle, requires waiting and blindness yet we can choose to hope deeply. We can choose to trust, to have vision and to hope in community.

We can choose to trust. I love what the author of Hebrews says, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:19-20)

As Christians we have hope because of the incarnation, God becoming man, Jesus’ death and resurrection and his coming again. We choose to spend time with him when we struggle to hope because he is hope himself. Time spent in his presence leads to greater trust.

We hope with vision. Even though hope is blind to the immediate, we have been given a vision from God of what will be. We live with the vision that all things will be made new. No more disappointment, no more evil, no more pain. Hope is fulfilled. There is a bigger vision we hold onto.

Leighton Ford says this about hope: “Hope is a strong and confident trust, given by the Holy Spirit and nurtured in life experience, that God, who has promised good to us and all creation, makes good on his promises through Jesus’ coming and coming again.”

We also hope in community. We hold onto hope for others and we let them hold onto it for us.There are times in our lives where it's nearly impossible to have hope. A relationship is in shambles, we see no way out of a situation, we do not know how we can go on from a loss or hurt, we cannot imagine how life can be different. We struggle to hold onto hope.
In these times we need hope holders – those who will hold onto hope for us until we can. To have a community that can we can lean on and a community that is leaning on God with us and for us.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Dayby Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also speaks of hope. May these words encourage you as you hope deep and well.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Amanda DeWitt is a freelance writer, coach's wife, and mom. She completed her bachelor’s at Dallas Baptist University and holds a M.A. in media and communication from Dallas Theological Seminary. When she's not typing away at her computer, she's chasing her two little boys or watching her husband coach high school football.

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