Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

The Lost Art of Hope

Stop taking “hope” for granted.

I know we USE hope all the time.

We hope there won’t be any bills in the mail today. We hope that cute guy in class says hello again. We hope our dentist won’t find another cavity. We hope the Green Bay Packers will be undefeated this year. Oops, that’s more of a dream really… I’ll leave that for another post for another day. Ahem.

Yes, we “hope” for outcomes all the time. But I think we take the purpose of hope for granted. I think it’s just another word that we use to replace all our random little “Ifs”

IF there’s no bills in the mail, my day will be instantly better.
IF that cute girl says hi, I’ll instantly know I’m noticed.
IF the Packers could just go undefeated, my friends and perfect strangers on the street will stop mocking me….

Whoops, again, that’s a totally different post for another day…. ahem.

I had another post for today actually. But I got up this morning, and I couldn’t stop thinking about hope.
That it’s a lost art.
That we’ve forgotten what it’s for, and how it’s one of the best tools at our disposal for when we’re loaded down with our illnesses, our depressions, our circumstances, and our hard situations.

When people ask me how I got through 28+ years with Early Onset Dysthymic Disorder constantly breathing down my neck, my honest answer? I never lost my hope.

I had this thing inside me, negotiating for survival, a driving need to see that the next day would be better, a compulsion to tell myself that when I just hung on for a little longer, my cry would be heard and a solution would come. I didn’t know the when, the how, the where, or the why. But hope compels you to brave the day and deciding how much you can take. I spent every day looking forward, to when hope would win, to when I would win. NOT IF, BUT WHEN!

Hope deals in WHEN, not IF.
Print that out and post it somewhere. Tweet it somewhere. Share it somewhere.

Hope looks forward. And only forward. It’s a powerful tool! It reaches outwards, spreading and touching everything when we let it. It grows at the slightest positive victory, it gains momentum with every good thing that comes your way.

But it requires you to embrace it. You can’t just keep it on the back burner, pull it off that back shelf, dust it off for a few seconds, wave it around like a magic wand, and chant things into it. That’s not hope. That’s if. If is a crap shoot. If is at best a “maybe”. If can not be trusted. Don’t confuse IF with HOPE.

Who wants maybe’s when you can have the real deal. Hope, my friends, is very real. It’s very capable of allowing you to go from burdened, to standing up and facing the day, renewed. And we know for a fact, that a soul without hope, retreats. A soul where zero hope resides, gives in, gives up, starves, weakens, and dies.

NO amount of alcohol will replace hope. No amount of drugs will boost it. No amount of food will fend off your soul’s hunger. No amount of cutting, snorting, gambling, shopping, smoking, and gaming will give you what’s missing when we abandon HOPE.

Hope is a constant process. It isn’t something that you snap your fingers over, and voila. Why? Because, if you haven’t noticed, LIFE is a constant process. Recovery is a constant process. True healing is a constant process.  “Instant” anything is rarely the real deal, right? The same with Hope.

Finally, WHO is our hope? The Savior. Huh. Guess He knew we’d always, always wind up NEEDING hope. To survive. To thrive. That we’d need someone to do the impossible, to be our hope when we no longer have the strength to endure for hope’s sake.

My devotions this morning plunked this verse in my lap and with the week I’m having, I will cling to it, and gain some untiring Hope for today:

Philippians 4:12-13

I know HOW to be brought low, and IKNOW how to ABOUND.
In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through HIM who strengthens me.

Why Him? This was the answer:

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope FILL YOU WITH ALL JOY and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may ABOUND IN HOPE.

I know this world sucks Hope from everything. We watch as hopeless situations come from everywhere. Men who refuse to be men. Governments who shrug responsibility. Reports of fearful events everywhere. The coming generations left to their own devices. Jails are overflowing, countries are crumbling, nature is rebeling…. oh, couldn’t I go on.

But if we HARNESS the power of hope, we stand a chance.

I HOPE you are reading this today, and want to have hope restored to your soul, and your situation.

It doesn’t have to be a lost art.

It can be so much more.

1 Comment

  1. Marie Bilston

    June 26, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    “I Never Lost my HOPE, and , I Never lost my JOY….and ….I never lost my FAITH, but most of all…..I NEVER LOST MY PRAISE!!!! Since my hope is in HIM, so I will continue to stand HOPEFULL!

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