The Effects of Hope // Confidence
What if he can’t fight this...? I wondered.
My closest friend’s six-week-old baby boy was diagnosed with a rare terminal illness and dreams for their long awaited first child were tragically shattered. Our community rallied around them as this tender infant battled surgery, chemotherapy, and blood transfusions, including one week on the ventilator.
But of all things that could have occupied her heart that evening, she was thinking of me. I had just been rescued from a freak accident that left me with excruciating pain. While I was drowning in the sorrow of uncertainty, worried my life would never improve, she wordlessly comforted me by coexisting with my suffering, bringing hope in the middle of grief.
How do we find strength to comfort others while our own arms ache with emptiness?
How do we cultivate joy when someone else gets the life we’ve always wanted?
How do we find confidence to move from "what if" to "even if"?
In Spe Salve, Pope Benedict XVI offers us a paradigm shift:
The one who has hope lives differently.
To the beleaguered Christians of Asia Minor, wrestling with pain, Peter declared a living hope (see 1 Peter 1:3). Unlike a "dead hope” which is barren and fruitless, Living Hope is fertile and fruitful. It produces virtue. It unleashes confidence. It teaches us to trust a Person, not our plans.
It is this hope that held my friend during the next 25 months of chemotherapy, hospital bills, and sleep deprivation. It is this hope that empowered her to pursue Truth, regardless of medical reports. It is this hope that equipped her to pursue charity and cultivate compassion. It is this “living hope” that commissioned her, giving her confidence to witness to me even in the midst of her staggering weariness.
Her son entered remission three years ago and will turn six this year. What a tangible witness to the power of hope. What a beautiful reminder of the confidence hope unleashes.
On my long road to recovery, I still experienced burn-out, brokenness, and brutal pain, but I was not cynical anymore. In and through the broken, bloodstained Body hanging on the Tree at Golgotha, in and through the confidence of my friend, I moved from my "what if" to "even if," I rediscovered living hope and I resolved to live differently.
Let Us Pray
Jesus Christ, Source of our hope, direct our gaze toward You once again. Lord, we so easily become bogged down with the painful reality of our situations that we forget that You are with us at every moment. May we learn, evermore, to trust in that. Amen.
Take some time to ask the Lord how He is inviting you to move from "what if" to "even if." In what ways are you struggling to make that shift?
If the one who has hope lives differently, how would an increase in hope change the way to interact with others, the way you think about situations you encounter, the way you pray, the way you make decisions?