Hope Helps Us Survive
I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints. Psalm 52:9
The prominent psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger was convinced that the importance of hope lies in its connection to human survival. Hospital chaplains agree that as long a person has hope that they will live, they can endure great amounts of suffering. Sometimes we associate hope with wishes, which have a light quality to them. But hope is more guttural, like gritting your teeth. It provides the inertia to keep going through the dark. Hope can be more powerful than the strongest medicine, bringing life where death seems inevitable.
Hope operates in the spiritual realm as well as the physical. A person who hopes in Jesus is hoping in eternal, unfailing love. The book of Hebrews describes hope as “an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19). “We who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged,” says Hebrews 6:18, because Jesus promises, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).
Lack of hope is called despair. We despair when we can see no way to continue in life. If you’re feeling despair, remember that hope isn’t like an airy feather, but more like a sledgehammer. We hope for the perfection of the Kingdom of Heaven, but we also utilize hope for survival in darkness. It can hurt a lot, but you can claw through to “the hope set before us” in the good name of the God whose love is eternal.
Resource reading: Hebrews 6:13-20