“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope” (Martin Luther King)
Have you ever known a time more desperate than what we are facing currently? We are in the midst of a devastating pandemic in the world. Many of our financial institutions are on the brink of collapse. Businesses and large corporations are going bankrupt and closing their doors. Unemployment, with further retrenchments in sight, has hit the highest percentage in decades. People are losing their homes with no place to go. The moral climate in some parts of the world continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate. Everyone is looking for someone to shoulder the blame and searching for a way to improve their desperation.
When life’s circumstances pull the rug from under our feet, we feel a loss of hope. Family and friends may give words of encouragement and support, but it’s still tough to pull ourselves out of despair, anger, disappointment and frustration. By understanding that hope is a choice, however, we can cope better and keep optimism alive.
“Once you choose hope, anything is possible,” said Christopher Reeve, best known for his role as “Superman”. He knew the power of hope. Hope helped him to endure a devastating spinal cord injury caused by a competitive horseback riding accident in 1995. The accident left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe without a ventilator. In spite of this traumatic, life-changing event, he made a deliberate choice to be productive and not to be a burden to his family, which gave him hope. He started the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation with the goal of finding a cure and advancing the quality of life for people living with spinal cord injuries. He also nurtured his creative side by directing a movie that starred actor Glen Close, called “In the Gloaming”. He starred and directed in a remake of the 1954 Hitchcock movie “Rear Window”, playing a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. Christopher Reeve chose hope and it made all the difference in his continuing to achieve great things.
There has been much superficial writing about hope in the past – warm platitudes and cute sayings – but these don’t truly sooth a hurting spirit. Some are putting their hope in the economies of the world bouncing back so that they can prosper – these actions, however, are placing hope in a construct that is superficial (although we all are optimistic that the economies do improve so that more people can get jobs). Others put their hope in relationships or material things, but these can let you down. True hope, however, is the expression of a God-given inner strength that, in spite of prevailing negative circumstances, we can trust in a God-directed meaningful future.
In the current COVID-19 pandemic, there is no certainty – we are all at risk. We can live with hope, however, as we, on the one hand, diligently comply with all the physical distancing and hygienic best practices, but also, on the other hand, exercise hope in a God-initiated rebirth of a better and more sustainable future – this is infinite hope.