Hope.  The very word causes a joyful expectation to spring up inside my soul.  I happen to be one of those people whose basic personality type is a hopeful one.  According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, there are four basic personality types:  The Practical,  The Helpful,  The Hopeful, and the Visionary.  I fall into the ĎThe Hopefulí category.  Hopeful personality types are intuitive as opposed to sensory types.  We just know within our own souls that things are going to work out.  We have hope.

Iíve run across a number of people who donít seem to have much hope.  Some have simply lost hope due to the hardships of living in a fallen world.  Too many trials and too many disappointments have caused them to lose hope.  So what is it that kills hope?  What causes a person to lose hope?  The killer of hope is powerlessness.  When situations come along in life that show us how little control we actually have in the affairs of life, we tend to say Ďitís hopeless, I can do nothing to change this situation.í  Proverbs 13:12 says ĎHope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.í  When we lose our hope, we begin to live a dull, boring, monotonous existence.  We dig ourselves a rut and climb in, planning to stay there until itís all over.  Have you ever felt the need to kick out both ends of that rut?  That desire to kick is your hope, trying to rise up and propel you out of the despair and lethargy of hopelessness.

Our past life experiences certainly play a role in our ability to have hope for the future.  On the surface, it would seem that if we live largely a trouble-free existence where everything in life comes up roses, we would find it easy to have a bright hope for the future.  However, I think the opposite is true.  I think when we have a life that is filled with trials, sorrows, and tragedies and sufferings; it is just as easy to live in hope of a bright future.  When we have lived through hardships and found that we are still surviving, the trouble that came upon us did not kill us; we can and should have hope.  We find in life that we are able to endure much more than we thought we could.  We donít know what we can endure until we have endured it.  Then, in the looking back, we smile and say, ĎI donít know how I ever made it through that, but I did.í  By the grace of God, we keep on surviving, keep on enduring; keep on hoping and finding joy in living. Hope causes us to look forward.  It gives us the ability to face the future with optimism and wide-eyed eager anticipation.  Hope causes us to press forward, looking into the future with a willingness to risk what we hold onto today for what we could have tomorrow.  Hope fastens the successes of our past to the anticipation of our future.

We have no idea what the days ahead hold for each one of us.  Do you face life with fear and dread, or do you have an expectant hope for bright tomorrows?  I think it is safe to say that not every day will be bright and joyful.  Some days may be difficult and painful.  We may temporarily lose our hope.  If that happens, try to bring to mind all those times from your past when God was very present and delivered you from similar circumstances.

The past is a mirror that reflects the face of God.  He was there all along and He is still present now.  He will also be present throughout all those days ahead. Dare to hope, for the roots of our hopefulness tap into the undercurrent of a river of joy.  Make the decision to live in hope.

by Diann Messer







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