How to Hope Fully When “Hopefully” Fails – Amy Lively

Amy Lively

(Photo: Unsplash)

For just a few seconds, I almost forgot.

I almost forgot the pandemic that infected us with disease and death, fear and worry. I almost forgot the grieving families, courageous caregivers, exhausted essential workers, anxious unemployed, and the lonely neighbor I barely took the time to notice on a good day—let alone this string of very, very bad days.

Cuddled under the covers, for just a few seconds I could almost imagine I’d open my eyes to a perfectly normal day.

I almost forgot the horrific and senseless deaths of our Black neighbors that sparked outrage across the country as voices loudly demanded long-denied attention to racism, prejudice, and discrimination.

I almost forgot the wildfires and murder hornets—in an election year, no less.

These few forgetful seconds were the best part of my day, before my sweet dreams drifted away and reality settled in like a dark cloud.

Where do I go to get my “old normal” back?

These are the moments when our faith in God collides with real life and crises pile up like cars on an icy interstate.

When life as we know it is upended and interrupted, we grope through the ambiguity like a car with a burned-out headlight.

We drift between the lanes of dark hopelessness and dim hopefulness—

It’s hopeless, she’ll never get better.

     Hopefully, my mom will recover.

It’s hopeless, this marriage is over.

     Hopefully, the rumors aren’t true.

It’s hopeless, my prodigal is too far gone.

     Hopefully, my son will be safe.

It’s hopeless, we’ll never get along.

     Hopefully, our nation will heal.

“Hopeless” sees no possibility of success, and “hopefully” is just an expression of my desired outcome for my current circumstances based upon my feelings. Grammatically, “hopefully” is an adverb that modifies the rest of the sentence. It’s structurally dispensable: You can toss it out and lose nothing except the speaker’s emotion about the real subject. “Hopefully” is an expression of how I feel about what I’m about to say. When we pry these emotional words apart, we can invite God’s power to enter in the tiny space between them.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded,
set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:13 ESV

Oh, what a difference a space makes!

Hope encompasses all your expectations, confidence, assurance, and anticipation. Peter describes it as a “living hope” that is active, alive, full of breath, fresh, strong, efficient, powerful, and thriving. Hope isn’t a wish, it’s a grounded reality based on the promises of God.

To hope fully means your confidence, trust, and reliance is perfectly, completely, entirely, and steadfastly established and rooted in Jesus Christ.

Hope isn’t an escape from reality, it’s a real person.

Hope is not a wish for a happy ending someday.

Hope is a decision to trust God today.

When “hopefully” fails, hope fully in Jesus.

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