Hope is a tricky thing. If you grab onto it with both hands and hold on tight, you might just lose it. Hope cannot be contained. Hope is delicate. And if you're let down once, it's hard to get your hopes up to the same level the next time. When you say, "I have hope," the first nagging question of doubt says, "How do you know for sure? What if...?"
But hope defies what-ifs. Hope never knows for sure but confidently and stubbornly acts as if it does. It stares boldly in the face of the odds stacked against it and still chooses to believe in the possibilities of another outcome.
Hope can look foolish sometimes. But those who don't truly hope – are they really living, or merely surviving? Hope believes in silver linings, in counting every blessing, in the best-is-yet-to-come.
For Christians, as delicate as it can be, hope is firm and alive in Christ. By all that He did on the cross, we know that He is for us, even if we cannot see that directly in our lives. We hang on to the hope of the coming redemption.
"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (Romans 8:24-25)
Hope is anchored in the ever-faithful Lord and Creator of the universe. Is the sun still shining? Are your lungs still taking in oxygen? Then there is cause for hope. He is still working and knows what He is doing.
But then there are times when it feels impossible to hope. You've been let down too many times to open your weary heart again to risks, so you self-protect and expect very little from life. Or, your rational brain determines that your circumstances are too unconquerable to imagine something better.
In these moments when your heart just can't hope, do this: look up, cry out, fall into His arms, and rest. Let God do the restoring. Let Him carry you and allow Him into your heart. You can believe in His hope and want hope to be real even while not holding it in your own heart. Someday, you'll go from hoping hope is real to truly practicing it.
Hope is a seed, so nurture it with all your heart even when you can't see a bit of green peeking above the soil's surface. Believe that God is holding your life, just as you believe nature will run its course. A hope answered will be joy unspeakable. Proverbs 13:12 thoughtfully observes, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” I, too, am waiting for the slightest indication of life, and I know it will be more green and glorious than I could ever imagine right now.