Isn’t it ironic how in a blink of an eye our whole life can change? We often have a hard time realizing how lucky and blessed we are when everything in our lives is running smoothly. In one second our life can hang by a thread, in a moment our life can come to an end but we go about our lives refusing to think about it. It is a subject we do not want to address. We hardly ever stop to think about the frailty of our lives and about how much we need God. We end up wasting time in meaningless things and vain pursuits precious time that could have been spent deepening our relationship with God, mending broken relationships, improving ourselves, loving more, sharing more, finding more reasons to be happy and fewer reasons to be sad.
We do not like to think about these things, but perhaps we should because then we could be somewhat more prepared when hard times come. Oftentimes, it is when we go through hardships that we find out what we are made of. It is then that we are given an opportunity to draw on the grace God has given us, an opportunity to exercise our strength, wisdom, love, patience, kindness and faith. It is in distressing times that we really come to experience the protection and mercy of God. If we can be ready for these tough times, through prayer, then a tragedy, a catastrophe or a great tribulation can be the source of spiritual growth and some of the biggest blessings in our lives.
Sometimes, no matter how much we have prayed and how ready we think we are to face anything, when a terrible situation comes our way, we feel like St. Augustine when he wrote in his Confessions that he was “appalled at a world that could go on as though our catastrophe had not happened.” We feel drained, we feel frozen, and only hope remains.
Many valuable lessons can be learned about hope, faith, endurance and strength. One of the greatest lessons is that the driving force behind all of these qualities is love. God has given us human beings an amazing capacity to survive the most heartbreaking moments. The great love of God that unites and that pours out from family members, friends and even strangers becomes the solid foundation that sustains us when we most need it, that great love that many times gets forgotten in the rush of everyday life.
There are many amazing stories about people who have survived adversity and found it has not only changed their lives but touched the lives of many others as well. These are people who have survived by holding on to hope. Sometimes hope is all we need in order to make it through one more day. And one more day is all we need in order to make it through the rest of our lives¾because each new day brings renewed hope and a renewed understanding that God has given us the strength to endure difficult times and the courage to go on.
Hope gives us strength when adversity pushes us to the limit. In adversity, hope gives us the ability to open our eyes and see what is really of value in life. Many people’s lives change forever because in hope they find meaning to their suffering. Great difficulties can pull people together, and many times great difficulties can produce forgiveness. Difficult times and problems are part of life, but it is how we choose to see these moments and how we choose to act in these times that will determine if they are in vain or not.
Wisdom to contemplate:
“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
“He rescued us from such great danger of death, and he will continue to rescue us; in him we have put our hope (that) he will also rescue us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:10)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)