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Confession: Sometimes, It’s Hard to Hope

I thought about hope today for some reason.

It could be because there's been some deaths in our church this year or because a few people that are close to me are struggling with situations that, in many ways, seem hopeless.

Most likely, though, it's because I'm thinking about myself. (Selfish, I know; I hate that about me.) I've hit an emotional/spiritual funk lately, and I'm not sure what that's all about.

Most days, it's hard to stay motivated or on task. It doesn't feel natural to pray or read the Scriptures. It's difficult to share an affirming word with my wife or coworkers. And I am increasingly more frustrated with myself for not being who I thought I would be at 27 years old — that is, an intelligent, well-accomplished, moral stud.

I catch myself in the middle of this depressing introspection and think: What would I do without hope?

What would I do without the belief that life could get better?
What would I do if I were unable to choose a different life for myself?
What would I do if I couldn't break free of bad habits?
What would I do if I didn't believe that God could turn my failure into something beautiful?

Life feels tough today. When I write that, it sounds completely absurd. I mean, I have food, water, shelter, health, a wife, and a job that allows me to do meaningful work. What's tough about that? I don't know. It could be that I'm tired or that I had a rough week, or that I've just let my mind wander too far. But I feel like I'm missing out on something.

While everything on the outside looks great, inside I don't feel too hot.

And I guess that's the point – fulfillment has little do with the external and everything to do with the internal

I imagine that this is what hell is like — perpetual hopelessness. Yes, I believe in hell — I'm not sure what it's like exactly, but it seems to me that the one quality it has to possess is an absence of this beautiful thing called hope.

You see, life isn't beautiful because there are no challenges or trials, no obstacles to overcome. Life is beautiful, simply because the obstacles can be overcome. Even the most terrible situation can improve or be redeemed.

That's why on days like this when it's hard to hope, I have to practice faith. Today, hope is a discipline. I believe it to be true; therefore, I accept that my situation can improve, that my feelings can be more positive, and that the broken, seemingly hopeless things in the world can be healed.

It's a powerful thought and incredibly compelling when you actually believe it. Moreso when you actually live like you have hope.

Think about it: What would you do without hope?