The Power of Hope
Hope is essential to meaningful life. That principle is reflected in various sayings such as: ‘Hope springs eternal in the human breast.’ and ‘While there’s life, there’s hope.’
The reverse is also true. If you shatter a person’s dreams, if you take away an individual’s hopes, if you remove that element of anticipation from life, there is very little left. In fact, a sense of hopelessness can often hasten a person’s death.
Some years ago a proposal was made to construct a hydroelectric dam across a picturesque valley in one of the New England states in the north-eastern corner of the United States. The plan involved the relocation of the inhabitants of a small town in the valley, because the town would be submerged in the waters of the new lake created by the building of the dam.
This town was diligently maintained, the sort of place that would feature on a postcard or win awards for its beauty. However, during the time between the decision to proceed with the scheme and the completion of the dam, the buildings in the town fell into despair. What was once a picture postcard place became a run-down eyesore.
Why did this happen? The answer was simple. One resident put it this way, “Where there is no hope in the future, there is no work in the present.”
The power of hope gives us meaning in life and helps us to keep going when nothing else can. All the major world religions contain that element of hope, and Christianity is no exception.
The Christian faith offers hope: the blessed hope of the return of Jesus, the hope of life beyond the grave, and the hope of heaven, to name but a few. In the Bible God is described as the God of hope, and He wants us to be a people of hope. In his letter to the believers in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
On the next few occasions I want to ask some questions about hope, and we shall see how those questions are answered by the hope found in the Christian faith.