Hope…

I have been wondering about hope. As usual, I had innumerable questions and not a shadow of an answer:

Is hope always a good thing? It’s a positive word. Faith, hope and love…generally sounds good. Assuming that the hoped-for thing is morally right, of course, is there ever any reason when you shouldn’t cherish hope?

How about when hoping gives you pain, because sometimes it’s easier not to think about things that aren’t working? If you look back on years of fruitless hope? What if it is repeatedly dashed? At what point does it become folly? Is it endurance, courage, stedfastness to continue to hope when hope seems lost? Is it a virtue, or an emotion? Does it depend on the object and the circumstances, whether you should hang onto it? What if the pain and sadness of unfulfilled hope makes you cross and unpleasant to live with? When should you stop hoping and act to change a difficult situation?

I still don’t have the answers. But a (very) quick look through the Psalms was most comforting. More times than I can count, we are encouraged to have hope – and always in God. Not in any specific thing, result or person, not in what we want, but in God:

Psalm 43:5
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

And one of my favourites helped:

Romans 5:3-5
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

For the moment, this is all the answer I need.

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