From the tenuous bonds that connect us with one another, to the ever-present vulnerability we share as humans in a chaotic world, our lives are forever saturated in the possibility of catastrophe. Bad things— often tragic things like accidents, illness, and untimely death—happen to people every single day. We know this, yet we are tasked with finding ways of moving forward in a world where nothing is guaranteed.
How then do we move forward? We look for hope—the expectation that things will get better. Hope is important because it helps us to cope with stress and anxiety, manage adversity, and improve our well-being and happiness. Hope is not always easy to find, but it is always worth seeking. It is the light that guides us through the darkness, and it gives us the strength to keep going even when things are tough.
The need for hope
In all sectors of our community, people are talking about hope. They are acutely aware of the strain and impact that 21st century living has created. I need not list them, however, those searching for hope are often the casualties of this tumultuous, demanding, “always on” society. They result in depression, anxiety, and mental decline, in general.
These pressures not only exert stress on the mental wellness of our society, in general, but also upon our physical health. Observe the increasing incidents of high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease. The mind and the body are fragile. They were not built for the continual trauma and stress that have now become “business as usual” in our world today.
The U.S. population has experienced an intense range of stressors over the past few years, as the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, and political divisiveness have dominated news cycles and social media. A new survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of APA, tells a story of uncertainty and dissolution.
The report shows a battered American psyche, facing a barrage of external stressors that are mostly out of personal control. The survey found a majority of adults are disheartened by government and political divisiveness, daunted by historic inflation levels, and dismayed by widespread violence.
We can only hope!
Hope is both a feeling and a motivation. A powerful force for good in our lives. It can help us cope with difficult times and to persevere in the face of challenges. It has been described as a shield, a path, and a powerful protector. This is especially true when we face life-threatening illnesses or insurmountable challenges in our lives.
Hope is a complex emotion that is critical for the times in which we find ourselves. As we embrace the belief that better days are possible, we are motivated to continue moving forward. It is exactly what is needed to persevere during these difficult times. With hope, we can find ways to oppose the dread of life’s dangers. Hope is critical to our future, both individually and collectively, as a society. Therein lies the reason we must continue to hope.
This week, we have focused on our human need for hope. Next week, we will begin to explore hope as our faith response to the challenges of 21st century living. As believers, our hope, is built on a sure foundation based on the fidelity and faithfulness of God.
 “Hope: Why it matters”, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, July 16, 2021
 “Stress in America 2022: Concerned for the Future, Beste by Inflation”, American Psychological Association