The first week of term has been less than perfect. Sickness -5 out of 7. Disruption to routines, extra work demands. And yet as much as I craved time and space for me with all the little people back at school it didn’t really surprise me to have the week not go as planned. What is a plan anyway? And nothing – your week, relationship, work, holiday, health – is ever perfect, right? We fail. Sin is real. So why don’t we give up now and abandon future hope?
In my life—and I think it is the intended biblical pattern—hope is like a reservoir of emotional strength.
- If I am put down, I look to the emotional reservoir of hope for the strength to return good for evil. Without hope I have no power to absorb the wrong and walk in love, and I sink into self-pity or self-justification.
- If I experience a setback in my planning—I get sick, or things don’t go the way I’d hoped in the board meeting, for example—I look to the emotional reservoir of hope for the strength to keep going and not give up.
- If I face a temptation to be dishonest, to steal, to lie, or to lust, I look to the emotional reservoir of hope for the strength to hold fast to the way of righteousness, and deny myself some brief, unsatisfying pleasure.
That is the way it works for me. That is the way I fight for holiness in the Christian life.