February 6 I Saturday
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” —Romans 8:24-25
Why is hope essential? During World War II, Viktor Frankl, an Austrian Jew, was imprisoned in Auschwitz, one of the worst concentration camps where his wife and his parents died. Frankl was a trained physician and his experience in Auschwitz led him to observe the value of hope. Those in the concentration camp who had a sense of hope would talk about the future and what they would do once they were freed or once the war was over; they became the ones to survive the kind of natural causes of death that wiped out many others. Frankl saw the theme of surviving any hardship is for life to be oriented on the future, where the key to a person’s life lies in what they hoped for.
Frankl observed many psychologists who would spend hours unwrapping people’s pasts, but in reality, it is the sense of a future that gives meaning and purpose to their lives as well as the courage to deal with difficulties and issues from the past. When a patient went to see Frankl, he would listen to them talk about their multitude of torments and he would say, “Can I ask you: why don’t you commit suicide?” It may not be the most reassuring question to be asked by a doctor, but Frankl found the answer from the patient revealed the key to their life. One patient may answer, “Because of my children”, where their children gave them a sense of hope, meaning and significance. Frankl noted that the thing they hoped for was bigger in value than death; when all their life was falling apart in every other area, it became the key to their will to live. Without hope, there is no sense of joy and life.
Some put their hope in wealth, in science, in technology, in human nature, in marriage or in politics, but Christians place their hope in God, who transcends all of that. There are more than 158 verses in the Bible that addresses “hope”, which is one of the greatest virtues that enable us to live in dark and difficult times that are inevitable in the Christian life. Biblical hope is not used as an unsure optimism, such as, “I hope this snowy weather will go away soon.” Rather, biblical hope is a confident expectation for, optimism and promise of God Himself.
May we find encouragement from the words of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.” (Jeremiah 17:7, NKJV).
Prayer: Dear Lord, my hope in life lies in You and Your sure promises. Thank You for being the hope of my life. Praise You!