Without hope, life is meaningless.
Whenever I read these words out loud, they always sound like this to me:
“Without hope, life is mean and less.”
When I was growing up, I can remember my best friend’s mom saying, “Put hope in one hand and spit in the other and see which one gets filled the fastest.” So hope was something that wasn’t going to be fulfilled by her definition (and the process of trying was fairly disgusting).
Hope requires vision.
My friend’s mom was missing the vision. With many of us, hope is often a vague wish or a best case scenario when things aren’t looking so good or we’re after something better than what we’ve got (with little to no chance of getting it). Vision gets lost (or spit on by others) with that kind of hope.
I have a vivid story on this subject of hope that stands out in my mind.
I was once heading into the Netherlands on KLM, finding myself getting dizzy from circling the Amsterdam airport, over and over again. (At least we thought we were circling somewhere in the vicinity of the airport. We had to take the pilot’s word of the navigator’s instrumentation’s word because the fog surrounding us was as thick as pea soup — not that it was green or anything, but you get the idea of the simile). Eventually, the pilot informed us we had to head to Rotterdam for any landing attempt because we were running low on fuel. Okay, standard operating procedure, right? It was still good…until we had to do the same sort of maneuvering over Rotterdam in the same thick fog – over and over and over (you get the idea) again. I kept imagining how I cringe at the thought of the fuel gauge on my compact car causing its little bell to ding. (In truth, I’ve never heard that little bell ding. I’m not brave enough to test how far it can make it after that happens.) I wondered if any dinging would take place on this huge jet before we heard the dreadful sputtering and then the disastrous plummeting sound. (I figured it would probably be more than a tiny ding, since those seem to be reserved for less urgent seatbelt-like matters.)
Our pilot must’ve heard the ding…
because, finally, in a tone of resignation, his voice came across the speaker and, as I had become accustomed, first explained the situation in his native Dutch, then repeated it as translated English. He explained that due to the fuel situation, we obviously had no choice but to attempt a landing, despite the fact that he had no visualization of the runway. Our captain’s final accented words to us were, “I am going to hope for the best.” My first response to those sitting around to me was, “Well, I am going to hope that his words sounded more assuring in Dutch than they did in English.” (In truth, I was concerned our captain might be a little like my friend’s mom when it came to hope.) When I got no response from my travel companions, I added my own final thought: “Our captain can keep hoping for the best all he wants. I’m going to start praying for it.”
In this case, hope didn’t come with much vision.
As a matter of fact, we missed the runway — but we did make it onto the ground.
Once we all got finished climbing out of the plane and kissing that ground (when we were able to locate it through the fog), hope cast its vision. After we were issued our emergency layover kits, we were to be double-dam’d — shuttled from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. The fog lifted enough somewhere along the way where we were able to enjoy a shuttled tour of the countryside, complete with the fattest field-grazing mutton at which I’ve ever gawked. (I was getting hungry and hoping for dinner.)
Without this experience, I would have missed out on some great “stuff” (aka, experiences)!
Besides being able to tell you this story without the necessity of additional dramatization…I would’ve never envisioned the spread of food or hoped for the awesomeness of the room (or shower) I was given at the Schiphol hotel. I would never have known the delight of having a server fly through six languages (twice) to ask to take my order before I admitted which was mine because it was so intriguingly impressive. And I would have never gotten the opportunity to say “Goede morgen” and to have been smirked at – over and over again – because of my obvious southern states accent. (My online tutors, Mirjana & Jarno, who had worked with me on my Dutch had prepared me for this – they always laughed too.)
The truth is…Hope doesn’t spring from pretty places.
Romans 5:3-4 tells us: “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Hope starts from a seed of suffering.
In reality, my suffering was minimal. It makes for a one-upsmanship travel story, at best. In contrast, I visited Anne Frank’s Huis while in Amsterdam, being greatly reminded of how even a young girl who left behind a poignant diary of her suffering has ultimately assisted in bringing hope to others. Her experience continues to cast seeds into others’ soil.
Proverbs 13:12 – “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Mulan says it like this: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”
Have you envisioned some hope for yourself lately? Have you planted a seed for someone else?
It’s time to stop deferring hope and to tap into its power!