The Half-Full Glass of Hope

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Recent events, challenges, and heartaches have dehydrated the perspective of many folk. In their eyes the glass is already half-empty and has a crack in the bottom. It’s understandable. COVID-19, restrictions on what people could and can do, drastic changes in how the education of our kids and youth are conducted, Washington uncertainty, rising costs, and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine that causes people to wonder if the world is about to blow apart.

It’s challenging to see that the glass is half-full. Some people say that I’m simply optimistic in an age of overwhelming pessimism. I can understand that, but I would reshape the understanding of my optimism as being hope-filled faith in the One who is so all-knowing that He can count the hairs on my head, all-loving that He holds me in the palm of His hand, always-present walking closely beside me, and all-powerful in that He can change the direction of the world and restore the wounded to health.

In a half-empty mentality, the Russian invasion is the bitter icing on a sour cake. It’s a punch in the gut that causes folk to double over in pain and disbelief. In the half-full view, I believe that the One Who created the universe is still looking at the moment He will refill the glass, that the unsettling of the world’s events does not change what God is about.

In our life journeys, there are times, some brief and some long, when having faith is a struggle, a slow walk in sinking sand. It’s as if our vision in the Unseen disappears and we’re not sure if He is still there. I compare it to the Saturday of Holy Week. Jesus has been crucified and then laid in the tomb. Sunday, and it’s proclamation of new life and new hope hasn’t arrived yet. Saturday was confusing, depressing, a day of soul-searching. It’s difficult to see the hope in the midst of the day between the emergence of calamity and the arrival of resolution.

As we scan the history of mankind we’re reminded that there have been a multitude of “Saturdays”. Hope, however, is in the glass.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a man from our small town church who recently passed away from COVID. A Vietnam veteran who experienced some of the horrors of that “Saturday sorrow”, he had found new life in Jesus. As the chaplain stood by his hospital bed in my friend’s final hours, the soon-to-be-departed took a notepad and, since he no longer was able to speak, he wrote the words slowly but confidently “It is well with my soul!”

His glass, in a spiritual and eternal sense, was about to be overflowing with the glory of the Lord.

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