Do you remember when I wrote about my New Year’s Resolutions? One of the most heartfelt was ‘to keep hopeful’.
It has struck me time and time again lately that to hope is to be brave.
Applying for jobs, trying for a baby, making a new friend, going on a date, attempting to make amends – these are all small, courageous acts of hope. We take a step towards something that has the potential to be good. We don’t know for certain all the details of how it will work out, but we bravely hope it will be worth the risk.
I started the year with *HOPE* at the forefront of my mind. I knew that this year staying hopeful would mean making conscious choices, often in the wake of disappointment, but I hadn’t quite realised the extent to which my ability to be hopeful would be challenged and tested, or just how much of my life the resolution would apply to.
I am beginning to see the importance of hope in everyday life, in both the small things and the more profound. My sister recently passed her driving test, an accomplishment which has given her a confidence boost and new freedom. She needed hope and courage to sign up for driving lessons, to book a test. We tend to take things like this for granted – although somewhat a rite of passage, it is also one of those things we ‘just get on with’. But the act of just getting on with it is putting ourselves out there, having the confidence to try, to learn. It’s hopeful.
Recently, a friend I had fallen out with was brave enough to make contact, and I was brave enough to reply, and just today we met up for the first time in several years. This reaching out on both our parts, it seems to me, was very much a series of acts of hope and vulnerability and courage.
There are so many ways we can live hopefully – sharing a confidence, encouraging someone else to do something they dream of, speaking to someone we don’t know… There are countless opportunities for acts of hope. But you can only live out hope if you genuinely believe there is still goodness. Goodness in people, goodness in the world, goodness in God. In my mind, being hopeful is not denying there is pain or sadness, but it is about acknowledging the potential for good even in the darkest of circumstances, and being willing to act on that belief.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come…” …Gladness and joy will overtake them and sorrow and sighing will flee away. from Isaiah 35