Monday, January 30, 2012

Hope: More Than Just Our Wishful Thinking

Have you ever stopped to think about the word hope? And how much we use it? It's a interesting thing to think about. Whether it is through the spoken word or simply in our thoughts we use it constantly. I have caught myself multiple times hoping for various things ranging from a small "I hope I have enough change to get a sausage dog on the way to work" to a big "I hope I don't loose my job today." Regardless to how big or small our hopes may be to us or other people, it goes to show how much we are all wired to act and think along the terms of hope.
The important thing to realize about hope is that it is crucial to have when we are facing big, real life situations. But it can't just be any type of hope--it has to be a hope that is durable, long-lasting and strong. What would it look like if we didn't have that type of hope? Well, here is a true story that will shine some light on this issue.

Major Harold Cushner was a POW – a Prisoner of War – in Vietnam.  He was describing the hopelessness that happens in prisoner of war camps.  Specifically, he was talking about this one 24-year-old marine.  This marine, when he was captured, he decided that he was going to give in to the Viet Cong.  He was going to cut a deal.  So this 24-year-old marine said this, “If you promise to let me go, I’ll do whatever you want, and I’ll cooperate with you.”  They said, “It’s a deal.”  This young marine did everything to cooperate.  He was a model prisoner.  He was even a leader in the camp’s thought-reform program.  But after a while it, became clear to him that they were lying to him.  They were never going to let him go.  Major Cushner described what happened to him next.  He said, “This young Marine became a zombie.  He refused to do any work, and he rejected all offers of food and encouragement.  He simply lay in his cot, sucking his thumb.  In a manner of weeks, he was dead.”  He goes on to say, “If there was one word, a one-word cause of death of this young Marine, it was hopelessness.” 

The fact that we need hope is okay but the point is that we do not need to create or allow a false hope to influence how we cope with your circumstances. It's just that we need to depend on a hope that will never leave us and will never run out. Luckily for us, that type of hope exists. And it can be found in God. The cool thing is God isn't going anywhere. He is for you and not against you. He wants you to have hope. As a matter of fact, He is hope.

In Paul's letter to the Roman church, "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

So, if we need hope and God is hope then what does that say about our nature? That we instinctively need God? or what?

It's just a thought to think about if you haven't already thought about it. I just know that hope has to be more than just wishful thinking, ambitious dreams and optimism. The reason being is that when we desperately need hope it has to be based off of something more than our own thoughts. Perhaps hope should be based more on the One whose thoughts are higher than our own.