Let Us Give Hope Another Chance

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

It was with great hopes and expectations that we entered 2022. We had hoped that the Pandemic would slowly make way for life to return to a normalcy, that there would be sanity in human thinking and that no one would dare to venture at another war, learning from the hard lessons of history. We had hoped that the fight against poverty and hunger would find concrete strides and that human response to the catastrophe centred on climate crisis would find tangible pathways for a better future. We hoped that there would be a return to God and the spiritual and moral values and life would be better. We hoped our children will be born into a more just world, our young people will grow in a more loving world and our elderly will cherish the calmness of the life.

But Alas! the war waged in Ukraine having its ripple effect impacting every part of the world, the constant resurfacing of the variants of the Corona Virus, the economic slowdown evident the world over and human insensitivity to the urgency of climate challenge mitigation action plans did not augur well with life. Lives of several people were affected in very harsh ways. People began to lose hope. In several parts of the world more and more people were even quitting religious paths. A self-centred, profit seeking culture seemed to overshadow the vision of the kingdom of God of sharing and caring and of committing to lighten the dark corners in small ways we could.

As we enter 2023, the primary question is Do we give up Hope? We surely cannot afford to do that and therefore the prayer in Romans 15:13 becomes a very significant prayer for our times.

Hope that has God as the source

When the river separates itself from the source it stagnates.

When the branch is cut off from the wine it withers.

For Hope to be relevant and significant we must primarily understand that God is the source of Hope. And for God nothing and no person can be irreparably broken. This source is an eternal one which would never dry away.

Sometimes when we go through fire, we need to be reminded that it is the goldsmith’s fire that is intended to purify and strengthen the gold. This is in no way intended to glorify suffering but is intended to seek meaning when life moves in ways we would never have wanted it to,

Each birth and Each new shoot is God telling us Life will go on despite all the inexplicable quest of humanity to destroy lives for annexations and extensions of territories.

God is the author and finisher of Hope.

Hope that fills us with Joy

Happiness is becoming a futile hunt of several people today.

People are realising that being wealthy or healthy by itself does not bring happiness

Emily Dickinson wrote,

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.

Whatever be the circumstances we are in Hope helps us see beyond the temporariness of the loss and pain and trust that divine restoration would be better for sure. It is not drooping over losses but being able to overcome set backs and look to the future with a positive frame of mind.

Even in the most difficult phases in life we see saints smiling because nothing can take away the joy in the Lord.

Losing hope should be the last thing to do since hope can give joy even when nothing else is left.

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come

Whispering, ‘it will be happier’.

Hope that helps us abound in peace

When life does not go the way we would want it to go

When the storms becomes stronger than what we can manage to navigate

When the terrain becomes strange

When the vibes around are filled with gloom and despondency

It is then we realise that peace is not the absence of turbulence but the divine possibility of finding tranquillity amidst turbulence.

Peace is already there. There is no point complaining about the darkness. Darkness is an opportunity for sky gazing and finding that inner peace realising the unaffected rhythm of nature despite human folly.

Hope is that inner strength within us that helps us not to give up on the struggle to make the world a better place for generations yet to be. It not only gives us peace but also dreams that our children will live in a world of peace.

Hope that strengthens our Faith

The beauty of having faith in Jesus the Person is that the eternal companion gives us a perfect example as to how to find peace in the toughest of times by holding on to faith. Even at the pivotal point of pain in Calvary Jesus prayer is Father forgive them. Only with a calm mind can one think of forgiveness at a point like that and that calmness can only come from a strong faith in God.

It was Neruda who said, you might be able to cut off all the flowers from the gardens and the wild but you will never be able to stop the spring from returning.

G K Chesterton reminds us Love means loving the unlovable, forgive means pardoning the unpardonable, faith means believing the unbelievable and Hope means hoping when everything seem hopeless.

Faith helps us cling on to hope even when everything around us tells us- there is no way.

Faith makes new ways when we reach cross roads. Faith finds new alpha points when we think we are at omega points.

Hope that grows in the power of the Holy Spirit

The speciality of hope is that it is never stagnant. It keeps growing. Winds and Storms only strengthen hope.

We cannot expect that life would be obligated to give us exactly what we dream for. Life would in reality have many a surprise up the sleeves. But each of those would have the potential to grow our faith to realms hitherto we never explored or experienced.

So as we look forward for 2023 let us give Hope another chance and look forward for the fore-taste of the kingdom of God among us

A kingdom of Love, Justice. Peace and Hope,

Arundathi Roy reminds us

Another world is not only possible, she is on the way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.

We deserve a better world

Our children should live in love and peace

We cannot afford to give up on Hope

Let Us give Peace Another Chance

Vinod Victor

1.1.2023

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