When Hope is Hard
- April 12, 2016
- Josh Godwin
The honest words that are coming out of me right now are a stark reality that is hard for me to deal with. In the past couple weeks, I’ve been confronted with this simple truth: hope is hard.
That’s difficult for me to understand because I’m an optimist by nature. I live my life by the admittedly simplistic understanding that everything can always work out for the better. That idea comforts me. It has helped me through some dire straights already, and I know it will keep helping me in the years to come. It’s a constant hope that the situation, no matter how desperate, can always shift towards the positive. It’s a fairly biblical idea that fills the pages of Psalms with talk of trust and hope. However, it’s one of those biblical ideas that is hard for us to reckon with all the time.
Because sometimes the desperate situation doesn’t turn out positive. Sometimes, even with the utmost care, a precarious decision that is bleak from the start doesn’t work out. But we wrap up so much of our hope in it that we make ourselves believe it can! We want so awfully for everything to be alright and to be made whole that we sometimes forget that it might not. In those times it feels like our hope was in a broken promise, and broken promises cut deeply. Hope can sustain us but hope can also hurt, maybe more than hopelessness. Hopelessness is an absence from the start; a failed hope feels like something we clutched so tightly has been stolen away.
So what then do we do with hope? If our hope can hurt as much as help, why bother with it at all? Sometimes it may be all we have. Sometimes the fleeting moments of peace it brings seem worth the following pain. But I think there’s something deeper.
Hope can be hard. That is a fact of life that I’ve resigned myself to. However, there is a hope that endures. Regardless of how much it seems our hope has failed, there is a hope that always triumphs. Hope is the first Sunday of advent because when we begin to remember the coming of Christ, we remember the embodiment of our constant hope in Jesus. Our constant hope of love and peace that stretches over all the pain, that heals all our hurts, and that never breaks a promise. We continue to hope because we have to, and because we have someone in Christ that can sustain all our hopes, no matter how hard.