For many reasons, a good number of people around and close to me have lost hope. Hopelessness can be seen on their faces, heard in their voices. The weight of loss sits on their slumped shoulders and is seen in their sad eyes. A variety of weighty matters fuel their loss – bad economic news, dismal job prospects, family conflict, deteriorating health, broken relationships, and failed dreams. The people, places, and prospects that once filled their lives and gave them purpose have collapsed beneath them. These friends now drift on a sea of hopelessness, not sure of where they are going or what is beyond the horizon. Their loss of hope is more than a funk or a phase. It is a deep malaise that engulfs and rules.
Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category
On April 5, 2009, Giampaolo Giuliani, a researcher attached to Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics, announced that an earthquake was imminent. Emissions of higher than usual amounts of radon gas detected at four meters he had placed around his hometown of L’Aquila convinced him that an earthquake of at least a 4.0 magnitude would occur within 48 hours. Naturally he began warning the people of L’Aquila through the Internet. Authorities decided he was a contentious crackpot causing unnecessary panic, so they placed him under an injunction that prevented him from issuing public alerts. Authorities even removed notices he posted on the Internet and threatened him with imprisonment if he reposted or made public announcements. Restricted in what he could do, Giuliani went house-to-house warning neighbors, friends and family. Once night came, he, with his immediate family, went to bed fully dressed, prepared to escape the anticipated earthquake and to help those who would survive. Just before daylight he awoke to a series of violent quakes that were not a 4.0 magnitude but 7.0. By the end of the day, a total of 308 people had died and 80,000 were left without shelter.[i]
To the inhabitants of L’Aquila, life had appeared stable and safe, calm and certain, and yet forces in the depths of the earth were shifting in opposing directions and tension that had been building for some time suddenly erupted into a massive earthquake. Surely they thought, ‘How could such a cataclysmic event happen in our town?’ (more…)
Recently I visited a number of friends who have moved to other countries within the last six months. They have relocated themselves and now live with new foods, languages, ways of relating, means of transportation, mediums of exchange, roles, and neighbors. These friends have done well, leaning into so many changes and adjustments. And yet, the more significant journey they have made has not been to obvious cultural or external realities. Rather, they are on an amazing journey within themselves. (more…)
The following is a quote from a student’s paper …
“… fear weakens and paralyzes us … hopelessness is a kind of death; one is immobilized by the dark and threatening visage of the future. But hope enlivens us. When viewed with hope, the way ahead is open and inviting. Hope draws us into the future and in this way it engages us in life.”
- Glenn Tinder, The Fabric of Hope: An Essay (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999), 13.
Thank you Katie.
The will to control … is it good or bad, necessary or excessive?
Being in control is good, isn’t it?
-When I am in control, I am able to make sure that what is best actually happens.
-When I am in control, I am able to effect the most beneficial outcomes.
-When I am in control, I am responsible and productive.
-When I am in control, I am able to effectively lead others.
-When I am in control, I able to prepare and execute plans.
Being out of control is not good, is it?
-When I am out of control, I cannot predict or anticipate what will happen next.
-When I am out of control, the outcomes are not always the best.
-When I am out of control, I look irresponsible and lazy.
-When I am out of control, others do not benefit from my leadership.
-When I am out of control, my plans come undone.
Most everything is beyond my control, isn’t it?
-When things around me fall apart, I realize I really do not control what happens.
-When my controlled outcomes hurt others, I see that I don’t always know what is best.
-When I fear looking irresponsible and unproductive, I am overly concerned with image.
-When I have to control others in order to lead, I am manipulative and scheming.
-When my plans come undone, unintended and uncontrolled forces take over. (more…)
Life can turn dark and ugly because of things that I do, or things people do to me, or just because life becomes undone. These shake the foundation and stability of the world as I know it and my dream of what I want it to be. No matter that it is my own neglect, ignorance or sin, or that people of ill intent accuse or lay in wait for me, or that life-threatening disease or natural calamity invade my world, the result is the same – a nightmarish existence that creates darkness and anguish. What control and power I think I have evaporate and life makes little sense. (more…)
“Fear can hamstring the soul.” -Amy Carmichael
If we fear, we live in the gray areas of pause and regret. Fear keeps us from attempting the impossible, stepping beyond what is comfortable, choosing difficult paths, and loving in a costly manner. The opposite of fear is faith. To walk by faith means to believe the impossible can be reality, to live without what we think we must have, and to love without the prospect of returned love. While fear paralyzes and debilitates, faith liberates us to believe in and hope for what might be.
Fear comes naturally for us, and thus is not a conscious choice but our gut reaction to difficulties, disappointments and rejection. Faith, on the other hand, must be an intentional decision. To choose faith instead of fear is to live toward the hope of a better world, personal transformation, justice, love, etc. While fear destroys our hope, faith is the beginning of hope.
Because I desire to live in hope, I choose faith over my fears.
I am making an effort to read Scripture daily so that I might remember. It is so easy to forget the content of faith, commitments I have made, experiences that have shaped me, and the places where hope can be found. It is easy to forget Jesus. Reading Scripture jolts me back to ultimate realities, moves me beyond the numbing effects of daily work and activities, and reconnects me to Jesus.
Growing up I learned via various mediums (church, movies, books) that good and evil existed in separate realms and were color-coded. The good guys had white hats and said certain words and phrases, and the bad guys wore black hats and said the exact opposite of the good guys. And yet, I have since discovered that the world is not so clear and simple. (more…)