Friday, May 29, 2009


"All the downtrodden can do is go on hoping. After every disappointment they must find fresh reason for hope." This word of wisdom came from Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet dissident who, before and after World War II, fought for the simple right of being human. Many have suffered as he did, but few have been able to write it as powerfully as Solzhenitsyn did in book after book.

Philip Yancy wrote: "Sometimes hope seems irrational and pointless. It must have seemed so to inmates in concentration camps. Yet, as Solzhenitsyn insists ... people without reasonable hope must still find a source for hope; like bread, it sustains life."

Hope has kept many a prisoner of war alive. People almost destroyed by pain, cope with it in hope. In hope of better medicine, hope given by loved ones and caring caregivers. And as Jurgen Moltmann said, "God weeps with us so that we may one day laugh with him."

None of us have a corner on physical, mental or emotional pain. Think about General George Washington and his troops in the cold winter at Valley Forge. They had none of the "comforts" of today's soldiers. They had no penicillin. They had no wonder drugs. How about John Bunyan, who wrote his best work (Pilgrim's Progress) in prison. Or the poet Donne writing in a plague quarantine room.

"Reproach has broken my heart. I am full of heaviness" (Psalm 69:21). As the psalmist poured out his heart, he discovers that there is one who cares. He is not alone. Hope begins to be born in his inner-most being.

Every day of life is a battle. Some have it harder than others. Some retreat into the old "life's not fair" syndrome. Some blame anything or anyone, even God. Don't go there. That is the deceiving broad road that leads to you-know-where. The one sure way to lose the battles of life is JUST QUIT SEEKING HOPE. Keep reaching for it.

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