|August 15 2012 | written by: Jenny Baxter|
|The Value of Hope|
HOPE. It is a small word, but it has such power. With even an inkling of hope we can survive suffering, disaster and pain. With hope we can push through obstacles and challenges to a new future. On the other hand, one of the most demoralising descriptions we can hear about ourselves is that we are hopeless, or that we work for a ‘hopeless cause’.
Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, spent three years as a prisoner of war in a concentration camp during WWII. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning (1946), he describes his observations of the difference between inmates who ‘gave up’, and those who were likely to survive. He concluded the survivors were those who knew there was a task waiting for them to fulfil. While the hopeless did not live long, even the smallest cause for hope made possible an ability to persevere even under harshest of environments.
Hope offers an investment in the future. David Halpin author of Hope, utopianism and educational renewal (2003) suggests that, “Being hopeful involves the belief that something good, which does not presently apply to one’s own life, or the life of others, could still materialise.”
In our Western post-modern culture we do not usually have to face lack of hope as experienced by the holocaust sufferers, however we can still fall into a place of hopelessness. During winter especially, when our Hobart days are short, cold and dull, many people are subject to the winter blues, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s not just depression that can affect us though. When we are wrung out with anxiety, opposition, disappointment or pain we can be tempted to feel like hopeless cases. At times like this remember there are no basket cases for God. He gives up on no one.
You have not been forgotten. These words from the Bible have proven to be a comfort for many going through difficult times,“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
It is so easy to forget that spring is just around the corner – there is hope!