Friday, January 1, 2021

On Hope

The world is waking up this morning with a weight off its shoulders. A year that so many spent so long hating, that burdened us with tremendous challenges unlike anything that we have seen before in our lives, has passed away, and a new year has come. A new year filled with new possibilities, an unspoken promise of what have to be better things. 

We know, of course, that today is not really fundamentally different than yesterday. Throwing away an old calendar and opening the first page of a new one doesn't really change anything. The challenges that we had yesterday are the challenges that we still have today. The choices that we've had to make are the choices that we still have to make. Not one of us woke up this morning with our lives truly any different than they were when we laid down last night to sleep. 


Except that today, our lives have something they haven't had for awhile. Today, our lives are filled again with hope. 

And hope...changes everything. 

Hope is that sense that we have that things really can change. That they're really about to. Hope gives us the confidence that there is such a thing as a new beginning and that we really can do things we never thought possible before. Hope doesn't listen to the naysayers; it pushes aside all of the skeptics. It even, somehow, squashes some of the realism that tries to push back against it. Hope, real hope, is unshakable in the depths of the soul. 

It's why we keep making promises to ourselves in the midst of it. Promises that on any other day, we'd know we're unlikely to keep. We know because we make the same promises, often, every time hope comes around. And yet, here we are - making them again. Believing them all over again. Believing them just as much as we ever have. Because that's what hope does. Hope makes us believe again, against any and all evidence we might have to the contrary. Because hope makes everything seem possible. 

As Christians, we know this. And we have this hope. And this Hope has promised us, in His own Word, that with Him, all things are possible. Paul says it doesn't matter what his circumstances are, it doesn't phase him what he's facing, it's irrelevant what he's up against - because of Hope (which is Christ), all things are possible. Period. 

Yet, we must also confess that most of us don't live with this kind of hope for very long. Most of us, like the rest of the world, are startled back into something we call reality, usually pretty quickly. Most New Year's resolutions only last three days; very, very few are left by the end of January. Our hope, for some reason, seems to fade just as quickly. We throw ourselves into the promise of Christ that is that all things are possible, and then, perhaps, we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror and start to think we're just fooling ourselves. After all, there is nothing fundamentally different about today from yesterday. 

Except that there is. Today, there is hope. And hope changes everything. 

What if we could live in this kind of hope all the time? What if we could live every day with this weight off our shoulders? What if every day was just as new as this one, if every breath that we took was filled with the same optimism, the same promise, the same opportunities? What if every moment brought us new opportunities, filled with the promise of what have to be better things?  What if we knew, with as much confident assurance as we have right now, that all things are possible? 

They are. Hope Himself told us so. 

What if we could live every day with this unshakable hope in the depths of our souls? 

We can. For that is precisely why this Hope has come to us. 

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