Longing for Hope

I just spent the last 8 days sitting with my family as we watched our Mom slowly slip away. There are many end-of-life issues that surfaced during this time, but I want to reflect on hope. Certainly as we watch a loved one die, we have the hope for them to escape their pain and the degradation they are experiencing; we have the hope for them that they will be re-united with their loved ones who have gone before them;  we have the hope for us that we will see them again. But what is hope?

Last year, on our daughter’s recommendation, I picked up a copy of John Eldredge’s All Things New . But until last night I had not read it. Listen in on what John says about hope.

He begins the book with an assessment of our current condition which could be characterized with the words: “Life sucks.” These are not John’s words but as he assesses the state of our world he says:

We could sure use some hope right now. … We appear to be suffering a great crisis of hope. It’s taking place loudly in politics and economics; it’s taking place quietly in the hearts of millions at this moment.  … Optimism is not going to cut it. Trying to look on the bright side isn’t going to sustain us through days like we are living in.  …“We all feel the riddle of the earth,” wrote G. K. Chesterton.


I first noticed this “crisis of hope” while keeping track of the number of downloads of my sermons from our web site. For 21 years, year after year, the sermon downloaded the most was “Hoping in God, even if …” It is not the best sermon on hope and people download before they read it but it is indicative of what people are looking for. Recently I heard an interview with N.T. Wright and he expressed surprise that his most popular book was “Surprised by Hope.”

Although these our anecdotal, I think they are indicative that there is a deep longing in us for hope. John defines hope as:

When I speak of hope, I mean the confident anticipation that goodness is coming.


Then he tells us what hope does for us:

Hope literally heals the structures of your brain.


Next he identifies a latent desire for hope woven into our lives. He says

Some sort of promise seems to be woven into the tapestry of life. … That promise fits perfectly with the deepest longing of our hearts—the longing for life to come together as we somehow know it was always meant to. The whispers of this promise touch a wild hope deep within our hearts, a hope we hardly dare to name.


John wrote this even as he couldn’t wait for the year to end because of the deep tragedies he experienced during it. The rest of the book is a reflection on this longing we have “for life to come together as we somehow know” it is suppose to. But since I have not finished the book, we’ll have to pick that up in the next blog.

Let me know in the comment section if you feel that there is a promise of hope woven into your life. Certainly during the past 8 days I have experienced that deep longing. Do you feel that longing?

“Let hope keep you joyful. In trouble stand firm. Persist in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

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