We have a deep and pressing need for hope.
It takes hope for parents to bring a baby into the world, to hold a little one in their arms and to become, from that child’s first breath, the people most responsible for providing what that child needs and for shaping how he or she feels about the world and about God.
It takes hope to help a friend or family member who struggles with addiction—to believe, on the one hand, that he can quit drinking or drugging or excessively spending or dangerously overeating; and, on the other, to know that he can only do it meaningfully if you don’t try to do the impossible, which is to do it for him. You and he need hope that there are health and happiness on the other side of your tough love and his hard work. Otherwise, you’ll give up when it gets really challenging, and so will he, and the vicious, downward cycle will start again.
It takes hope to begin a new job in a strange place with people you don’t know—hope that, somehow, God and you, in partnership, can fashion your work into a means of growth and becoming, not just of putting-in time and earning a paycheck.
It takes hope to undergo heart bypass surgery or chemotherapy, to get out of bed and take those first painful and halting steps after knee replacement, and to return to routine after a harrowing season of depression.
It takes hope to make a new home out of a new house, to rebuild a shattered life, and to forgive, yet again, people whose ability to hurt you exceeds their capacity to understand the ways they do.
It takes hope to walk to a grave, leave a loved one’s body there, and return to the home you once shared, but where you now live alone.
We have to have hope—the feeling that there is welcome ahead of us and not rejection; a conviction that mercy will mend all our brokenness, and a confidence that grace will set-right all that we got wrong and all that went wrong.
For me, Easter is the assurance that hope lives on the other side of even the bleakest despair. It is the promise that love is stronger than fear and that life is more enduring than everything which threatens it.