Embracing Hope by Rachel Wermerskirchen (2021)

Psalm 42:11: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise [God], my help and my God.

Embracing hope is a critical assignment for the occupants of what often seems to be a dismal and bleak world. Yet the task is often easier said than done.

For over a year, the pandemic has created anxiety, loneliness, fear, and uncertainty. For many, this onerous situation has been compounded by the death of a loved one, lack of access to health care, job loss, food insecurity, and countless other struggles.

Hope can sometimes seem lost.

Yet in the midst of the daily strife we face, we as followers of Christ can choose hope. The word hope in Biblical Greek is elpis, which means expectation of good and looking to the future with trust and patience in God. Elpis is not simply optimism or a wish. Instead, it reflects a deep confidence that we have a God of infinite love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy. Hope is born of our faith in the triune God who claims each of us as beloved children, accompanies us even through the hard times, and works through us to bring God’s kingdom of righteousness and justice to Earth.

Hope liberates us from feeling trapped in an unrelenting state of fear and sorrow. It must be said, however, that embracing hope is not an easy task. Since hope is not a passive construct, we must consciously choose it each day.

Embracing hope does not require us to ignore the plethora of hardships that we and our neighbors face. As theologian James H. Cone wrote, “Hope doesn’t erase the pain of suffering and its challenge for faith.” We must recognize that hope can reside in our hearts alongside the sorrow of living in a broken, hurting world.

This summer, I invite this faith community to actively embrace hope. Challenge yourself to discover a glimpse of joy or beauty each day. If it seems impossible, acknowledge the validity of your feelings and be gentle with yourself. The goal is to cultivate hope with intention, grow it tenderly, and then do things that will help restore hope for others. May God bless our efforts to embrace hope.

What gives you hope? You are invited to share what gives you hope through our social media channels using #SOTVhope or send us an email at communications@sotv.org. We’d love to hear from you.