by Christopher Harbin

This content is part of a series.

Unexpected Hope (26 of 52)
Series: Discipleship Part Two
Christopher B. Harbin
Luke 7:11-17

We don't really know what to do with hope. We live by hope. It enables us to dream. It crushes us when it is not realized. It casts us into despair and allows us to climb out of that same pit. It sends us through life as on an emotional roller-coaster, at times with thrills of excitement and at times with rushes of despair. It can be a cruel master giving life with one hand and taking it with the other. Without hope, however, it can seem there is simply no point behind the living of our days.

We have a lot to say about hope. ''Hope is the last to die.'' ''There is always hope.'' ''Hope springs eternal.'' ''While there is life, there is hope.'' ''Hope cheers our way.'' ''Work hard and never give up hope.'' ''We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.'' ''Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.'' ''A leader is a dealer in hope.'' ''Without hope, we are lost.''

We cling to hope. We look for hope. We hope for those things we cannot believe to be true. We allow failed hope to torment us. We strive to regain hope. We lose hope and all our zest for life. We cling to hope amid despair. All in all, we do not really know what to do with hope. It strengthens us and in despair, it dashes us against the crags of life. Then hope springs to life again in the midst of what is otherwise only death, darkness, pain, and loss.

Often as not, hope takes us by surprise. It can grab our attention and refocus our energy levels with wonder over opportunities and experiences we considered impossible. It acts like a spark in a dark cave, grasping us with a renewed focus, excitement, and a sense of renewal. That is where we find Jesus in Luke 7, ushering in hope in the midst of despair.

A widowed mother had lost her only son. Given the cultural and historical context, this was much more than is likely to meet a Twenty-First Century eye. The los ...

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