Overwhelming, that’s what it is.
We turn on the news whether it be on television or online and instantly we’re engulfed with images of despair, destruction, disillusionment. We watch the latest recap and as our eyes are assaulted with depressing images, our ears cringe hearing discouraging words.
Bad news. It surrounds us daily.
And it seems especially disheartening as across the globe, humanity has been dealing with a pandemic as well. For the faint of heart, this trying time in our lives can cause despondency beyond measure. Even for those who are strong, it’s difficult to endure all the madness and suffering we’re exposed to just by tuning into the latest news.
During this tumultuous time, people I know have suffered overwhelming tragedies, been blindsided by serious health issues, lost loved ones, suffered setbacks for their livelihoods, and even most of their personal belongings in a devastating event.
Piled on top of the mountainous, disparaging national and world-wide news like weighty boulders, bad news burdens us, makes us feel as though we can’t recover, we can’t regain what we’ve lost, we can’t cope with the ever burgeoning onslaught.
Times like these shake us to the core. They shake our faith. They make us shake and quiver in disbelief and sadness.
It’s enough to cause one to lose hope.
Little did I know when I snapped the photo above three months ago that it would inspire me to write words about hope.
Just three months ago, Papa and I enjoyed a trip to Arizona to visit relatives. During our trip, the corona virus pandemic news exploded across the airwaves. Our concern wasn’t that we would contract the virus, instead we were a bit apprehensive that our return flight home might be cancelled.
On our three-hour trek to the Phoenix airport the day before our scheduled flight, we decided to take the scenic route with our rental car and not use the interstate highway. That proved a nice, leisurely drive with a couple of short sight-seeing stops and camera ops along the way.
Because businesses started to shut down at that time, our biggest worry became finding a place to use a restroom and somewhere to eat dinner. (We resorted to a Chick-fil-A drive-thru in Tempe and taking our fast food back to our hotel room to eat it.)
Somewhere along the route to Phoenix, I spotted a small church and realized we were passing through a tiny community called Hope, Arizona.
Hope. A nice name for a place out in the desert, I thought. I began wondering about the origin of that little dot on the map, how it got its name, etc. As I was ruminating all of that through my mind, I noticed a sign which immediately garnered my attention.
Exclaiming ‘Oh, look at that!’, I asked Papa to stop the car, but there wasn’t a place to safely do so, a vehicle was directly behind us, and by now, we were well past the sign.
Bless Papa’s heart, he knows how much I enjoy taking photos and he always accommodates my need to stop and jump out of the car with my camera in tow. So he located a place to turn around and go back just so I could snap a photo.
The end result is the photo you saw at the beginning of this post. Then we chuckled at the message of the sign – “YOU’RE NOW BEYOND HOPE.” But I’m not laughing now.
Instead I am concerned. I fear that too many of my fellow human beings feel this way, especially now, that they are beyond hope. That hope doesn’t exist as they struggle to just get themselves and their families through each day.
Hope. It’s something we must never, ever forsake. Greater wordsmiths than I have given us worthy thoughts about maintaining hope, so it is such an important aspect of life.
My Guidebook for Life also tells us much about hope. In just one version of the Bible (New International Version) hope is mentioned 167 times.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
I believe God knew we humans would often fall into despair; He knew we would struggle with life; He knew we would become disillusioned and troubled in this fallen world, so He provided words of hope for us to cling to and a Savior to place our hope in.
No matter what comes our way, no matter what tragedy or hardship we encounter and must endure, we are never beyond hope. Not one of us.
In the book of Romans, chapter 15, verse 13, the Apostle Paul wrote “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
My purpose in writing this blog post is that my readers may find hope in the words written here. If you are struggling today, my hope is that you can see that there is light in all the darkness which feels like it’s surrounding and enveloping you.
That light is hope. It’s hope for a better tomorrow, for a better day one step at a time.
And the God of the universe can fill you with that hope. All you have to do is ask.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” ~ Desmond Tutu