How do we maintain hope in the midst of ordinary or extraordinary lives of pain and suffering? I’d like to suggest that hope is created because we live through pain and suffering. If life were to run smoothly and easily with no discouragement or distress or despair, we would have no need for hope. Life for humans began like that in the Garden of Eden and will begin again like that in the new heaven and the new earth.
In between those eons, however, is our life here on earth. And it is certainly not carefree! It only takes a child a few years to realize that life on earth is hard, difficult, unfair, disappointing, painful . . . . all of those words and more. And we can look at our lives and our world and choose despair, saying “God isn’t a God of love,” or “God doesn’t listen” or even, “There isn’t a God. And then there is no hope.
But we can choose a different path, the end of which is HOPE. This choice points us to the life of Jesus, someone who suffered deeply, and unfairly, and never gave up hope. We, too, can go through those times constantly reminding ourselves that God is in control. We can assert that we live in the unshakable kingdom of God. We can have faith that no matter what happens to us we are safe.
We can choose to live on that edge of pain and loss, the edge closest to the arms of God rather than the edge closest to the camp of the evil one. If we do choose the hard path of faith, we will see that hope always comes tagging along.