I spoke to people on their stories of hope, and this is what I discovered
The word has been mentioned a record number of times in the past few months: Hope. But what is hope?
Hope is such a big word that the dictionary definition of “a feeling of expectation for something to happen” just doesn’t quite sum it up.
I have been helping out, since the start of the year, with the publicity for a 3-day national rally that celebrates hope.
Through my work, I’ve learnt that hope means so many different things to different people. To one it meant a second chance, to another the only way out. And yet another, a certainty against what others deem impossible.
It became hard not to ask myself: What is hope to me? But to be honest, hope had never felt further away.
In the short span of 2019 so far, I have watched a friend lose her loved one, received news of people who had lost their loved ones, and even lost a loved one myself. Miles away, news of lost heritage, lost lives and lost privacy flooded ashore.
And even in our everyday lives, we are trapped in a cycle of drudgery and a loss of love for life. Wake up. Eat. Work. Sleep. Repeat.
Whether you know it or not, we all have hope in something.
There’s just something about life that dulls our sparkle. And the longer we live, the more we are aware of this: The lost of wonder and expectation of anything that good.
But as I went out for interviews with person after person who testified what hope means to them, I realised that despite the strain and erosion of living: Hope is inevitable. It’s the thing that keeps us buoyant, dragging us back to the surface when the waves of life crash over us. It is the air that fills our lungs with every breath, keeping us alive, even when everything hurts.
Whether you know it or not, we all have hope in something. Some place their hope in men, others place their hope in themselves. Or hope in windfalls, superstition, good fortune, wealth …
And that’s because hope is the reason for our being – nobody can live without hope.
But while we can put our hope in many things, not all that looks hopeful lasts.
There’s hope that slowly dissipates, fizzling out like gas in a soda can. Then there’s the hope that crashes overnight, and you wake up to a life you no longer recognise. We’ve all experienced this sense of loss in one way or another – a sudden betrayal, an unexpected retrenchment, an encroaching illness.
Our situations may look different and each one seems its own answer. But as it is with life, there are many moments where the problem posed to us has no solution. And in trying to quench the uncomfortable uncertainty of trial, we only end up with more questions.
Why do I have this condition?
Why am I not more like him or her?
Why did this have to happen to me?
We may never know why. But we can know how. How we find hope in the most hopeless of situations.
The answer: We need to place our hope in something constant, something eternal – something that will never fade away.
So this is what hope looks like to me:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV)
Do I still go through the drudgery of life? Yes. Can I expect to face difficulties and down times? Yes. But can I hope for a better future, a day where the clouds clear, a new joy that comes in the morning? Yes, yes, and yes.
Because hope is not just a feeling – hope is a promise. And because an unchanging God has made an unyielding promise, I can have certainty in the things yet seen.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
That was how every single individual I interviewed overcame their struggles. Hope may have looked a little different in each of their struggles, but hope always had one name: Jesus.
Jesus is hope today, tomorrow and forevermore.
This weekend, some 200,000 plus people will be gathering to celebrate the collective hope that we have each individually experienced. We have a feeling of expectation that something good is going to happen. Something great.
Hope will see you there.
The Celebration of Hope runs from May 17 to 19, 2019 at the National Stadium. Tickets for some of the rallies are still available. Book them via the Celebration of Hope app or website before they’re all snapped up!
THINK + TALK
- What are areas of your life that you struggle to find hope in?
- Have things happened that dashed your hopes badly?
- How did you find hope in those situations?
- What are some promises in the Bible that have brought you hope?