After 52 weeks of writing the Book of Hope, you’d think we’d have a deep understanding of what we’re talking about. But like Job in the Old Testament, I feel we’ve only scratched the surface:
“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?”Job 11:7
The answer is no. No I cannot. But I love this. Like Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”
What an adventure! To be living the questions as Betty Reid Soskin in her ninety-nine years of wisdom urges us to do, and as Rainer Maria Rilke expressed a century ago:
“…be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
We’ve been living our way into the answer for 52 weeks together, writing this Book of Hope, gathering every Monday to bear witness to the questions as they multiply and grow along with our perspective, our understanding, our gratitude, our faith.
Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.
Hope is neither blind optimism, nor blind faith. Hope is a fierce, courageous willingness to show up amidst ongoing uncertainty, fear, grief, and pain. Hope undergirds faith, as it makes room in the conversation for doubt.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”Hebrews 11:1
Faith emerges out of hope. We long for something more. Deeper magic from before the dawn of time. And then, our longing takes shape in the form of belief, our hope transforms into faith. Like my dad said:
“When looked at from a certain perspective, hope could be more important than any word in all of language. I think hope can almost be as important as the word love, because we have to have hope. You may be in a place in your life where you’re not really feeling a lot of love, but boy, to have hope is huge. […] God is love, but he is also the God of all hope. I think hope is, because of the darkness of the planet, on a par with love. If you’re not looking at the Godhead, hope is just as important as love on this planet.”
Hope has a firm and lasting place in the expression of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Spirit – “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.”
But how do we remember this when the going gets tough? How do we hold onto hope? We lean into gratitude. We let gratitude enfold us like a warm blanket or a long-awaited hug. We find our roots again in the simple recognition of the gift it is to be here at all. To be. Here. Now.
This holiday season, I can bet that we are all making unexpected adjustments, upending not only our daily routines, but age-old traditions as well. So if you’re not experiencing a great welling up of gratitude from within, don’t worry. It’s okay. Take a step back and give yourself a moment to rest. And then remember how far you’ve come. And that The Lord will perfect that which concerns you; His mercy endures forever. Way longer than 52 weeks or the next 52. He’s got you.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7
Talk about Reasons to Hope…
52 Weeks of Hope
Join us for one last gathering in 2021 to celebrate 52 weeks of writing the Book of Hope together, this Tuesday, December 28 at 3pm ET on Root & Vine’s Instagram Live.