Hoping against hope

By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

There are times in life when hoping becomes difficult. There are times when hoping is like absurdity. There are times when hoping is like being stupid. There are times when it appears as if all hope is lost. There are times it feels like "there is no need crying over a spilt milk". You know, it is gone. True, if the milk is poured, it is spilt. And there is nothing anyone can do about it, because, you cannot flog a dead horse. But even at that, the light of hope should not be quenched.

In true human situations, there are things that have no solution. There are things, you know, when they happen, that is the end. Death is one. But you know, as Christians, even at death, there is hope. There is hope of the resurrection for the deceased which is the summit of our faith in Christ Jesus. There is hope that life goes on for the bereaved. There should always be hope.

Hoping against hope is keeping the light of hope constantly on in our lives at those odd times when hoping is difficult; or when hoping is like being absurd or stupid. It is holding firm to the conviction that there can be life in spite of the reports from doctors, laboratory results and diagnosis.

It is holding firm to the conviction that in the face of disappointments there can be appointments. It is holding firm to the fact that as one door is closing, another door is opening. It is holding firm to the fact that unless a grain falls to the ground, decays, to germinate, it remains a single grain.

St Paul declared that that was the hope of Abraham (Romance 4: 18). Abraham had Ishmael from his Egyptian maid, and Isaac from Sarah his wife, but he was promised he was going to be the father of many nations (Genesis 17: 4-8). How can that be with just two children, and as a matter of fact, with just one legitimate child? Yet, Abraham believe God, and even went to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22: 1-14); he believed still that God's promises to him was to come to fulfilment. That is hoping against hope.

The Syrophoenician woman had that strong hope that Jesus could heal her daughter. But when she came to Jesus, her faith was challenged. She refused to succumb to anger, disappointment and frustration in the face of the rigours Jesus introduced to discern her faith (Mark 7: 25-30; Matthew 15: 21-28). That is hoping against hope.

We too are called to hope against hope. At those moments, when all hope should be lost, we are called to still be hopeful. That was the lot of the widow who clung on the unjust judge asking for justice (Luke 18: 1-8). She persevered. And her perseverance made the judge uncomfortable until justice was won for her. Our hoping against hope is sure to win us progress in life both spiritually and otherwise. Hope against hope today!

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