Watching Embarassing Bodies right now which is an object lesson in hope. In case you haven’t seen it, members of the general public who have extreme and embarassing problems (bad smells, scars and worse) and who are at the end of their tether are seen by television doctors who sort out their problems. Some of the problems that people have are unbelievable, and yet here they are still trying to get them fixed. They come to the programme with a key motivator – hope. Which has, in a cheesy-comedy-vicar way, got me thinking about hope more generally.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love” 1 Corinithians 13
Faith and Love are the 2 of the 3 that get the largest look in, but Hope is overlooked I think. In fact, I don’t think I have ever heard a sermon about Hope. But when you lose hope things can go very seriously wrong – events and people can cease to matter and because you feel that there is no hope you stop fighting for change. This giving-up can happen on a personal level or on a group level and in both cases the consequences are destructive. On a personal level you can succumb to life situations that you would never have considered before, you can stop valuing yourself and valuing the people around you and their ability to relate to you/help you. On a group level we can refuse to see the possibility for change, turn the other way when confronted by seemingly unchangeable conditions or write off situations and people we could make a difference to because we have no hope that we can ever change them.
Hope can slip away or it can be wrenched away but if we don’t acknowledge that it has gone and that this is a problem then we run the risk of becoming distanced from God. Because if we have no hope in ourselves or in our power to change things we don'[t believe He can change anything either. It’s well worth poking around your soul and seeing if there are any areas you think it’s pointless worrying about because it’s “pointless” to think that life might change or situations in the world where your mind says ” but it’s always been like that and it always will be” just examine them to see if they are a lack of hope. And then bring it to God and see what He says.