The thing you can't live without
It has been said that a person can live about three weeks without food, one week without water, and a few moments without hope. Hope is the thing that allows us to keep moving forward.
Hope in the Christian sense is different than how the word “hope” is typically used in our culture. Hope in our culture is synonymous with a wish. “I hope I win the lottery.” “I hope the Panthers win.” However, hope in the Christian understanding is founded and rooted in the idea that God is good, powerful, and on the side of the broken. Throughout Scripture, God has a proven track record of coming through, even when things are very bleak. Perhaps, it’s no surprise why we celebrate the birth of Christ near the longest night of the year, so light can pierce the darkness.
Hope, even during the worst of times, demonstrates how God’s Spirit encourages and empowers us when everything else is lost. Viktor Frankl, a neurologist and psychiatrist, chose to stay in Vienna during WWII in the face of a raging Nazi regime to support his aging parents. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he writes of his horrific experiences in concentration camps and the one thing that his oppressors could never take: they could not take his hope. In his own words, “He who has a ‘why’ to live, can bear almost any ‘how.’” Frankl found meaning and purpose despite the immense level of pain and suffering he endured. When everything else of significance was stripped away, Frankl relied on an unwavering future hope. Even when he was on the brink of despair, hope found a way to meet him there.
So, I’m curious. What would it look like for Unity UMC to offer hope in hopeless places as God calls us to do?