By: Julia Somerset
I recently came across this simple line from Pope Benedict XVI:
“One who has hope lives differently.”
My husband spent the first year of our marriage deployed to Afghanistan with the Army. The challenges of that year overwhelmed me, and I faced a sadness that I was powerless to combat. His return date changed constantly, and I never knew when—or if, God forbid—he would return.
We lost a lot of the joy of our collective life when he left. As I learned to live without him, though, that void was filled by hope, the sister of joy. The hope for our future together took on a magical quality in my mind; on one hand it seemed too wonderful to imagine, and yet I became certain that one day our lives would be restored to our former happiness. The anticipation of that future joy carried its own pleasure, and it became more intense and exciting as I learned what it meant to truly live in hope.
What a powerful metaphor for the Christian life. When we live in the expectation of closeness to God, our pain softens and we are able to overpower it. It’s not ever easy, but occasionally we receive the extra measure of grace that allows us to linger in that hope, to be certain of future restoration and let it cover every aspect of our lives here.
Even when we are in moments of darkness, as Christians we know it is temporary. Hope is about wanting something with the expectation of receiving it. Hope allows us to actually live differently, even in the midst of hardship. I hope for restoration, forgiveness, mercy, blessing, justice, and comfort—and, in Christ, I wish for these things with the expectation they will all come to pass in some way or time.