Hope is defined as a feeling or a desire for a positive outcome. Often our sense of hope is backed with an expectation that whatever it is we are wanting is indeed attainable. At other times, our hope for something is more of a wish easily undermined by a fear that the end result is unachievable.
In addition to being a feeling, desire or wish, hope is also the force or power behind change. It can give an individual the strength and courage to do what seems impossible. It can transform communities. And it can bring a nation to its knees in prayer.
Of all the tragedies experienced in the world, I was especially struck by the rescue of 33 Chilean miners in 2010. The world watched and celebrated the rescue of these miners who were trapped beneath 700,000 tons of rock for more than two months. Remarkably no one died and although there were health concerns, the miners were in good shape. No one has ever survived being trapped underground for that long. It was truly a miracle!
So what kept these miners and their loved ones going until a rescue mission could be underway? It is the same thing that has kept families and friends going until they are reunited with their loved one serving in the military overseas. It is the same thing that mothers and fathers with missing children hold on to and use to command themselves to get out of bed every day even if years have passed since seeing their child. It is the same thing that a person uses to overcome personal tragedy and life-threatening illness. It is that intangible thing called hope.
In contrast a person who has no hope gives up on themselves and everyone around them. Hopelessness can catapult an individual into homelessness, a destructive lifestyle and even suicide. Without a sense that something positive will come from one’s tears, hard work, soul searching or prayers, a person will remain trapped in their pain and sorrow. Imagine what difference could be made if those who have given up were “spoon-fed” a grain of hope each and every day! Not all of them would turn their life around, but some of them would and that’s worth taking a chance on.
The next time you use the word hope, really take in its meaning and endless possibilities. Whenever given the opportunity, pass hope on to others through your thoughts, words and actions. Never doubt its unseen power. Believe and know in your heart that when hope is all you have, it’s everything!