Hope in a time of despair
Walter Brueggemann wrote in Sojourners Magazine last July:
“When we are contained in the world that is immediately in front of us, we will inescapably end in despair. The inventory of despair-producers is well known: The failure of public institutions; the collapse of moral consensus; the failure of political nerve; growing economic inequity; and the pervasiveness of top-down violence against the vulnerable.” [i]
As we watch the constant news of COVID19 and the racial injustice which continues to take place in our country, along-side our own personal struggles, it is easy to fall into despair. It’s easy to wonder if God has turned God’s back on us.
However, Brueggman continues: The good news of the gospel is that we need not be contained within that immediate world, and “hopers” refuse to be so contained: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
That chapter in the Bible provides a roster of Jewish hopers who refused resignation to what was in front of them. What these hopers have in common is that they knew and trusted that God’s alternative world is crowding in on the dominant world of despair and will—soon or late—overcome it. The good world of God’s promise is marked by restorative justice, compassion, and mercy. Hopers who trust in this coming world refuse despair, trust the promises of God, and actively engage in the performance of that new world. Against such resolve, despair has no chance in the long run! God’s peculiar hope is reliable ground for not allowing the fears of the present to define or overpower us.[ii]
With what the world daily places in front of us we surely will have deep feelings of despair, but we must not lose sight of the promises of God’s coming Kingdom. “Hopers who trust in this coming world refuse despair!”
[i] Brueggemann, Walter; https://sojo.net/magazine/july-2019/company-unafraid