Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hope in what is unseen

"The kind of hope I often think about (especially in situations that are particularly hopeless, such as prison) I understand above all as a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul; it’s not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation. Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.

"Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but, rather, an ability to work for something that is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. The more unpropitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper the hope is. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. In short, I think that the deepest and most important form of hope, the only one that can keep us above water and urge us to good works, and the only true source of the breathtaking dimension of the human spirit and its efforts, is something we get, as it were, from 'elsewhere'. It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually to try new things, even in conditions that seem hopeless as ours do, here and now."
- Václav Havel, Disturbing the Peace: A conversation with Karel Hvížďala,
(Knopf, 1990), 181.
H/T Entersection.
"Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?"
- Romans 8.24b.
We act (and wait) because of hope. The wellspring of genuine Christian action (and patience, even in adversity) is found not in the conditions which confront us. We do not act because we might be successful. The shape of Christian action may be tempered by compromise, the recognition of the good that is actually possible, but the motive for action is never the success of the enterprise. It can only be faithfulness to the God who has promised, love for the groaning world and the hope that what is not yet seen may yet appear.


Plessey Mathews said...

Thank you for that Byron

byron smith said...

I'm glad you found it helpful and good to hear from you again.