The road is long and the journey is difficult.
Why do you keep going?
You keep going because you believe you’re going somewhere. And somewhere is better than here.
Why would you give up?
You’d give up because you stopped believing in where you were going.
When the destination seems unattainable, the journey no longer carries the weight of purpose that previously prodded you on.
The single, most important ingredient in making the future is HOPE. Without hope, there will be no future. Without hope, it’s only a matter of time before you stop running, stop walking, and just sit on the pavement and go…nowhere. If life were a car, hope would be the engine that drives it forward. You can have all the other parts – talent, potential, wealth, past successes – but without hope you will sit on the road unable to move. It then becomes only a matter of time before the car loses its shimmer and rusts away. The irony of hopelessness is that it serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The moment you say, “there is no hope,” you are exactly right. When you give up hope, you give up trying. When you give up trying, you give up any possibility of succeeding. Without hope, there is no hope.
But here’s the good part. There is always hope. Let me type that again…
There is always hope (mmhmm…amen!)
Hope is not something that disappears. It is something you either keep or give up. You may not always see it, but you can still hold on to it. You can still believe. And as long as you hold on to hope, you can keep moving forward.
How can I be so certain? Aren’t I a bit naive? Maybe I just haven’t experienced enough of life and am full of youthful optimism…nope, that’s not it.
The sustainability of your hope is directly correlated to the object of your hope and the source of your hope. If the object of your hope is something that will fade or change or underperform, then, yes, your hope is unfounded. If your hope comes from a person or place or thing that does the same, then, yes, the flow of hope will cease and you will need to find a new source. But if you have a source that is unbridled, unabated, and unending then “losing” hope is a really a matter of misplaced hope. If the object of your hope is certain and known to be worthy and true then you will not need to give it up. Your hope will not fail.
The question then is not, “Is there hope?” The question is, “In what are you hoping?”
In one of my favorite passages of Scripture (I have many), the author writes candidly about his distasteful position in life. He feels like giving up. He feels unloved, unwanted, and unhappy. He is full of sorrow and seems to be lacking in the hope department. But then, in the middle of his writing, his tone shifts. You can sense the pivot. It’s as if he was remembering all that was wrong in his life and in the world when, all of a sudden, another thought bounces it’s way back into his mind. Actually, he “calls” it to mind. He remembers this:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” ¹
With Jesus as your portion, there is always hope.
It doesn’t mean it will be easy. If Jeremiah’s writings are any indication of how difficult our lives may be, then it certainly is not easy. There will be pain. There will be hurt. There will be grief and sorrow. But alongside each of these, there is hope. A couple thousand years ago, Jesus came into a hurting, war-ravaged, and sin-filled world and proclaimed hope. He actually “birthed” us into a new and living hope (1 Peter 1:3)! With Jesus, hope is alive!
Depending on where you are in life, you may be nodding your head and “amen-ing” this post – or you may be objecting and struggling to agree. Pain too often becomes the lens through which we see the world. You may feel like I am too unlearned and optimistic. I am aware that as Proverbs 25:20 says, “Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda.” That’s certainly not what I want to do (have you ever done the vinegar and soda thing?). But I do hope that I can encourage you by reminding you that there is still hope in Jesus.
There is always hope in Jesus.
Don’t give up. Don’t shut down. There is still pavement ahead. There is still more to be seen and road to be travelled.