I remember watching “Babylon 5” with my brother when we were both teenagers. We’d stay up late and catch the latest installment of what craziness happened aboard the floating cylinder in space. The line in the beginning narration said that B5 was “the last best hope for mankind.” Hope is something that all humankind needs.
In Jeremiah 29:11 – which I’m delving into theologically other than to simply state what is present – says that God gives a “hope and a future.”
This morning Michael wanted to go to the community pool and I had to tell him we could not. Despite having been paid generously for work this week, I know there is a mortgage payment looming at the end of next week and we are feeling the strain of our time with no income and the expenses with moving (Please, before you feel too sorry for the kid, he has a pool in the backyard, and I’ve heard there’s a fairly significant body of water here on the Atlantic coast of Florida).
It brought home a point that this is not a magic fix-everything solution. But this trip gives us hope. We may not have everything we want, but we are so blessed – abundantly – with everything we need. For the first time in quite a while, we feel like our boat is no longer leaking and it will just take a little bit of time to equalize.
I remember in my Marriage and Family Counseling class we had a book by Dr. Everett Worthington, entitled “Hope Focused Marriage Counseling.” The basic premise was that it was not the counselor’s job to mediate every single disagreement. Instead, he give the couple the tools they need to work through things together, and he gives them the most important thing – hope that they can work through them.
In John 5, Jesus comes across a paralyzed man at the Bethesda pool. He asks him what, in my perception, is the most asinine question: “Do you want to get well?” (5:6). Yet, it’s a good question for those who are suffering. Many times, we get so stuck in our suffering and poverty (economically, socially, mentally, etc.) that we don’t think that we can get well. That is the point where hope is lost, where suicide becomes an option, and suffering becomes acceptable.
And we wonder why people don’t just suck it up and pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps. Which should be an indicator that there’s a problem, since that is a physical impossibility. We need someone else to do that for us. Once hope is re-established, the outlook on life is very different.
If you’re reading this today and need hope, please try to find it. Hang on just a little longer. What is it? What would do the trick? Is this something you could ask God for?
If you’re okay today. Then it is time to be the hope for someone else. Look for a way to inject a random act of kindness into the world. Buy the coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks. Look at the people in the grocery store and see who needs help. Check in on your neighbors and bring them some food or give them some act of service. Just do something – you never know who might have read the previous paragraph and needs just the smallest injection of hope in their lives.