I always thought that a person who had lost all hope equaled a person who was weak and did not have enough willpower. I understand now that a person’s hope is not so much lost as it is stolen. A young woman has no choice when she is kidnapped, drugged, and sold into sex slavery. A beautiful, young girl who is betrayed by a person who is close to her in order for him to have a few moments of pleasure whenever he wants is rendered paralyzed to resist, think, or later, speak about it to those around her. A boy living amidst violence and chaos, surrounded on all sides by the influence of gangs, members of which are the only people in the world he has to trust, has no choice to even see what the other side of the fence may hold. If these young men and women have not hope, it is not because they have lost it themselves; it has been taken from them. Satan has invaded their lives…their stories, and hastily taken their hope, their chance, their futures. In no way is it their fault. They have not chosen this path for themselves. Much like those of us who have been blessed to have a loving, hopeful path fall before us, they have been cursed to have a painful, discriminatory, abused, frightened, hurtful path fall before them. They have had no such choice to live in a suffocating environment as I have had no such choice to live in a family of a father, mother, and sister who love me and support me in everything I do. The loss of hope is just as natural for them as are the thoughts toward the future, daydreams about who I want to be someday, and hope that I experience everyday are natural for me.
I will not profess to know why this is the case. I just know that Satan has so much of a hold on this world that hurt is obvious to abound in people’s stories. It is not my job to “fix” hurt. I am immobile to fix hurt. It is impossible for me to fix hurt. But the One who ‘wrapped our injured flesh around Him, breathed our air and walked our sod, robbed our sin to make us holy’ can. He is the King of Redemption stories…He is Jesus, the King of The Redemption story.
He can place meaning in a story where there once was none.
He can give the woman sold into sex slavery a reason to live, a person to lead her out of it, a reason to share her story. He can give the girl raped by the man she trusted a voice to speak, a reason to love, and pride in the woman she will become. He can give the boy surrounded by gang pressures a way out, a future abounding with meaning, an influence that will lead him to the other side of the fence.
He can give hope. He will give hope. He does give hope.
And for that, Lord, we thank You.
"God has a way of bringing unique challenges to help each person mature. No matter what decision you make, God will always send His angels to get you through the struggles." -- Teaching Hope
The past couple of days have impressed upon me the need for hope. I am beginning to understand how difficult it is to keep a mindset of hope when a person is in a situation or environment that does not lend itself easily to it. This writing was inspired after I read a section of the book Teaching Hope entitled “Challenges” and a long conversation had with three great friends here in Nairobi.