T42D: Hope for the future (part 2)
Rodders thinks on about hope …
Last week I looked at ‘hope for the future’ and this week would like to continue this theme.
One of the side effects of this pandemic has been how it has affected the mental health of the nation. Every day there are stories on television news bulletins, on the internet, and in the newspapers of people suffering because of lockdown and the Government restrictions imposed on them.
People wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel and hoping they will be able to go back to some previous normality.
Benjamin Disraeli said, ‘I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best’.
Hope is a powerful force as it can arouse our mind to explore every possible angle and enable us to overcome the daunting obstacles. It is the single biggest difference between those who persevere and those who give up.
History is littered with examples of people who did not give up but held on to their God-given hope.
As an old man Henri Matisse [a French draughtsman, printer, sculptor but best known as an artist, who was nearly 85 years old when he died in 1954] was crippled with agonising arthritis. When asked why he continued to wrap his swollen fingers around a paint-brush every day replied, ‘The pain goes away, the beauty endures’.
Labouring to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo grew so discouraged that he wanted to quit. But every morning hope pushed him up the ladder to fulfil his magnificent vision.
In 1902 an aspiring young writer received a rejection letter from the poetry editor of The Atlantic Monthly. Enclosed with a sheaf of poems the twenty-eight-year-old poet had sent them was this curt note: ‘Our magazine has no room for your vigorous verse.’ Yet he became one of the most beloved and popular American poets of all time. Who was he? Robert Frost.
In 1907, the University of Bern turned down a PhD dissertation from a young physics student. Yet that student went on to change the scientific world forever. Who was he? Albert Einstein.
When a sixteen-year-old student got his report card from his rhetoric teacher in school, there was a note attached that read: ‘A conspicuous lack of success,’ but he refused to accept it. Who was he? Winston Churchill.
When Thomas Carlyle, [British historian, satirical writer, essayist, translator, philosopher, mathematician and teacher who died aged 85 years old in 1881] completed his manuscript on the French Revolution, he asked his neighbour John Stuart Mill to read it. Later Mill came to Carlyle’s house, shaken and pale. His maid had inadvertently used it to light the fire!
Carlyle despaired — two years lost!
Writing it initially was daunting enough; rewriting it was unthinkable. Then one day, watching a stonemason build a wall, he observed it was going up one brick at a time. Inspired, he thought, ‘I’ll write a page today and one tomorrow. One at a time, that’s all I’ll think about’. It was slow, tedious work, but he persevered and the result outshone his original.
For the Christian our hope is not luck, like winning the lottery it is having confidence that God will do what he said.
King David had every reason to lose hope. After the prophet Samuel had anointed him to be Israel’s next king, he had to wait seven years while a paranoid Saul occupied the throne. He had to flee for his life, hide in caves, see Israel devastated, his friends killed and his family taken captive. Yet he wrote, ‘My hope is in You’ [Psalm 39v7]
David became king because he never lost confidence in the promises of God. The writer to the book of Hebrews states: ‘Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise’. [Hebrews 11v23]
So as we look with hope into this New Year, let us keep focussed, standing on God’s promises that He will bring us through this period.
There is a great promise in the book of Jeremiah: “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”. [Jer 29v11].
So let us believe that for 2021.