Blog Symposium - What is Hope?
"And now these three remain, faith, hope and love."
1 Corinthians 13:13
If you are a Christian, you should know that faith, hope and love are three of the most important traits believers are called to strive for. But I find it interesting that while there is no shortage of sermons and books on how to strengthen one's faith in God and to love Him and other human beings, I cannot recall a single sermon on the topic of hope. In this prominent Evangelical pastor's collection of sermons, for example, you won't even find a category for hope, while there are five for faith, and three for love.
Why is that? Does anyone else find it intriguing? Why does a concept of that much prominence and importance garner so little attention and study?
What is hope to you*?
Every definition I have heard sounds very much like that of faith, and I am sure faith and hope go hand in hand and must co-exist, but what gives hope its own distinctive identity, if you will?
The clock is ticking down to 5 minutes, and your football team is down by 21 points. Now granted that there have been miraculous finishes, but 99.99% of the time, your team loses under that scenario.
Can hope do anything? Is it a matter of forcing yourself to feel optimistic about certain things in your life despite the insurmountable odds? At what point does a hope become a pipe dream and wishful thinking?
How often do you hear people say, "One can only hope" as if hope is the last resort in desperation? Don't you think there has to be more to hope than the perverbial "carrot in front of the donkey's nose"?
There is in my life a certain goal which has eluded and mystified me.
When I feel "hopeful" and optimistic, the final outcome consistently turns out below my hopeful expectations leading me to ask why I bother with "hope" in the first place.
Then when I resign myself so as not to get my hopes up, the outcome often turns out worse than my worst fears, leading me to regret not having been realistic and hopeless enough. I realize at least conceptually that pessimism and realism aren't one and the same and either are hope and wishful thinking.
So what is hope to you? And how do you "exercise" it?
You can either leave comments or better yet write a blog entry about it, and I will link it here.
Hope to hear from you.
*I am not necessarily interested in what hope is from a collective perspective be it Christian or not. I want to know what it means to you and how it works in your own life.