“Blessed are they who trust in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD.” – Jeremiah 17:9-10
Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things – the weather, human relationships, the political situation, wars, and so on – will improve. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God’s promise in a way that leads us to love more deeply and freely. The optimist speaks about changes in the future. The person who hopes lives in the moment and trusts that all of life is in good hands. Optimism is a personality trait; hope is a choice that risks God’s goodness. When we hope, we rely on God’s faithfulness, even though we cannot envision a foreseeable future of optimism.
Hope is essentially an act of faith rooted in love. It involves radical openness and vulnerability to life in the present moment and waiting with endurance, trusting that uncertainty, loneliness, restlessness, loss, confusion, etc… will lead to greater freedom, to a more genuine love. A love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).
It is difficult to hope when destructive tsunamis ravage our Japanese cities and violence is used to uphold corrupt political systems in Africa and the Middle East while other systems seem to favor special interests of a few rather than the common good for all. But when we hope, we wait in openness for God’s promise to come true, even though we do not know when, where, or how this might happen. We trust in God’s indwelling presence and laboring to bring about good. We embrace ourselves as the Beloved. We love.
"Lord, help me to love more fully today, through moments of hope; teach me to be in solidarity with those who suffer in Japan and oppressed countries.”
inspired by Henri Nouwen
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