FAITH column

Society sometimes seems torn apart by turmoil, trouble and trauma, with angst and adversity pervading people’s lives behind closed doors in suburbia or on the streets in the public glare.

Certainly, coping with life’s complexity and confusion can be confronting, with maintaining an optimistic spirit often conflicted in these circumstances. It could be unexpected unemployment, the loss of a close confidante or loving relationship, physical or mental ill-health or simply feeling lonely and isolated, among other things.

For religious believers, a love of God offers enriching reassurance, imbuing them with solace and succour to surpass their sadness and celebrate a positive perspective. Believing God loves them too is undoubtedly as significant.

But irrespective of religious inspiration, it seems equally important for people from a young age to acquire the psychological skills and strategies to face adversity with resilience, tenacity and strength as they mature.

Implicit in this scenario is appreciating life is full of ups and downs, the latter usually unplanned and unforseen, demanding that one nurtures an emotional determination, dedication and discipline to transcend the down times without succumbing to distress.

With the tapestry of life sometimes seeming difficult, at times even impossible, entertaining hope seems invaluably imperative; hope that shines on previously unconsidered opportunities, hope for rewarding relationships with others and hope for feeling personal contentment and well-being, with life evoking meaningful enjoyment in a milieu where materialism doesn’t manifest as a measure of self-worth.

Biblical narratives reflect the spiritual significance of hope, with many theological tenets acknowledging hope in the Lord as the saviour, with Psalm 147:11 recording “the Lord delights in those…who put their hope in his unfailing love”.

Romans 15:13 notes more specifically a God of Hope, who may “fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope…”, while in Isaiah 40:31, it is “those who hope in the Lord (that) will renew their strength…”

Indeed, in the 18th century, English poet, Alexander Pope, wrote in “An Essay on Man” that “hope springs eternal”, a philosophy that soon became proverbial, proposing while man might not comprehend God’s plan, one must keep on hoping no matter what the odds.

Man was ignorant about the future, Pope opined, but happiness depended on hope for that future by embracing all the mysterious pleasures and secret surprises along the journey of life.

This hope can foster a faith in tomorrow that one might only imagine, but is never too late to make real.