I have something to say about Hope and Hopelessness. And I hope you hear me out.
This weekend I was in Amsterdam visiting the Banksy museum. Banksy’s most iconic image is that of a girl reaching out for a heart-shaped balloon, searching for the hope that love is still alive. But just how do we find hope in a hopeless place?
Just yesterday I was coming home from work, just crossing a busy intersection. All of a sudden the guy next to me collapsed. His head hit the pavement, his eyes rushed to the back of his head, and within two minutes and a crowd of people checking his pulse, he was pronounced dead. Most likely, he had overdosed on heroin, had a spell, and hit the concrete so hard that he suffered immediate brain damage. So how do we find hope in a hopeless place?
Today we have concluded an election that has been immoral in almost every regard. We elected a president that has created a massive divide. So how do we find hope in a hopeless place?
This afternoon in class we learned about the thousands of people who are creating fake vaccines. These vaccines, filled with just water, are given to the poorest, most disadvantaged, most at-risk populations. And then these same people fall ill, infect others, and die. So how do we find hope in a hopeless place?
Every day, I go to work at Doctors Without Borders, and from 9-6 I work on issues that affect people who have entirely lost hope. I scan TB government policy documents, looking for gaps anywhere that could possibly help decrease the staggering statistic that every 18 seconds someone dies from TB. Every eighteen seconds someone is dying from a preventable disease. These people have lost hope. Many of their governments have lost hope. And I’m supposed to work to instill that hope. But just how do I find hope in a hopeless place?
It’s heartbreaking to know that all around the world people are feeling hopeless. But you know what is more heartbreaking? You know what is more terrifying? That we are relying on people—and systems and substances and pleasures—to give us this hope. Because that kind of hope, that kind of ephemeral, worldly, hope is misguided. It’s misunderstood. It’s unreliable.
I have put my hope in so many things. I have put it in powerful NGOs, in our government, in our creative street artists, in myself. But all of these things fail. And have failed.
And so today I have realized that more than ever I must cling to the only eternal hope. And that hope is the hope in Jesus Christ that he has died for all of our sins and that in Him I may have eternal life and live in the freedom and joy that comes from knowing that only He can provide true hope. Only He can show me the Hope in this hopeless place.
I am praying for my friends, family, fellow citizens, and everyone around the world that you all may come to know this hope, too. Because the world can be such a dark place when we place our hope in things, or people, who fail us. Today is a dark day, but it doesn’t have to be.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5