Friday, April 14, 2017
Why Do We Hope?
The purpose of this reflection paper is to provide a concrete answer to the question of why human beings possess hope. In other words, this article is being written to demonstrate how hope is a quint-essential facet to our daily lives. Without it, we would have no inner source of strength to persevere through every dark corner of our physical, psychological, and spiritual struggles. We would have no ultimate sense of fulfillment. So it is vital to raise and ponder the following questions. Why does society need hope in order to continue functioning? What would life be like, if the concept of hope did not exist? Is such a longing of the human heart of major significance? What is hope, anyway? How can we obtain an ultimate sense of fulfillment in our lives?
In short, to hope means to have a strong desire for a specific cause, effect, or condition in life. This emotion is the yearning or aspiration for the best results or an ultimate purpose in life. It is not simply a form of wishful thinking, but rather, a component of our faith. Hope is a part of faith. Both realities are interrelated, which means that hope is faith that looks beyond the view of the present. Hope looks into the future. In Christian theology, to hope means to have trust in God because of His divine promises. For example, we trust in God for salvation because that is what He has promised to those who have believed from the heart that His Son Jesus Christ is the risen Messiah. “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:25).
Without hope, all things, whether they are perceptible or imperceptible, would appear remarkably meaningless, pointless, and dull. In other words, our portrait of life would have no color without hope. Everything would appear as either black or white to our minds. If the idea of hope was only a practical illusion created by the mentally deranged, then there would be no sense in accepting cultural diversity or striving to accomplish goals because we would have no internal sense of ongoing inspiration. Neither would we be able to describe any degrees of perfection. It would be impossible to formulate distinctions among the categories of good, better, or best. It would be highly illogical to make comparisons or even create analogies to simplify sophisticated concepts because the explicit boundaries of concrete and abstract would be blurred.
If no standard of perfection exists to govern every lifetime aspect, which can range from the recognition of objective truth to the formation of fallible, subjective opinions of the human mind, then how could we possibly describe things as being imperfect or incomplete? How would spiritual discernment even be possible? If the concept of hope is not an independent reality of our lives, then life itself would not make any sense. In fact, everything would be self-defeating. In order for rational creatures to continue thriving in a peaceful order, they need an ultimate source of fulfillment, which can only be found in the gospel.
Our purpose in this life is to know, love, and serve God in this world so that we may be with Him eternally in the afterlife. Because of our longing to be in complete unity with God the Father in the heavenly sanctuary, we are able to strive through every sort of dilemma that the world throws at us. By the power of God's sufficient grace, we are able to overthrow the sinful distractions prompted by the devil. We may even defeat the snares of spiritual desolation by learning how to identify its causes, reflecting on past experiences for the sake of learning, and by steadily acting contrary to sources of struggle.
But hope is the spiritual soil in which the fruits of Christian self-sacrificing love grow. If we trust in God to care for us daily, then we will not be focused so much on ourselves. Instead of us focusing on our own needs daily, we need to give all of our troubles to God. In that case, we will be enabled to act selflessly because we know that God is ultimately in control of things. Only through our hope in God can we discover our ultimate purpose in life. Only then can we begin to possess hope, and make any sense out of life.