I’ve recently begun listening to a really great (specialized) podcast called “Juicebox,” from a dad of a Type 1 Diabetic. Many years ago he started a blog called “Arden’s Day,” back in the day when there weren’t any others, and he is now one of the best-known voices about T1D. I found it so interesting that what started for him as an advocacy blog–an effort to motivate people to donate to the hunt for the cure–evolved into something very different: a way to bring hope to the families dealing with this disease.
As I listened to him, I didn’t get the sense that he was a man of faith…but I definitely came away knowing that he’s a man who loves his family and will do anything for them. He’s a man who counts as one of his worst memories the day he had to tell his three-year-old daughter that she wasn’t going to wake up cured on her fourth birthday just because that’s what she wished for when she blew out her candles. He’s a dad who has since made it his mission to keep hope alive in his little girl, despite the drudgery of day-to-day reality.
As I listened, I started to think about that deep-ingrained desire we have to hope. As Christians, we know our ultimate hope lives in Christ. And we tend to say things like “We can hope because of Him” or “How does anyone get through without faith?”
Here’s the thing though: people do. And as I was pondering it, I began to wonder if that’s because, just maybe, HOPE is another of the things humanity has that is modeled after God himself. If it’s part of “His image.”
Think about it. Think about the other things we know we have because we were made in His image. We are creative, as He is creative. We are intelligent as He is intelligent. We are capable of selfless love, as He first loved us. These aren’t things we necessarily see reflected elsewhere in the animal kingdom, at least not with consistency. No other animals compose symphonies or create art just for the pure enjoyment of it. No other creatures just sit around pondering things and then share those ideas with others in hopes that it could change culture or the world. And though plenty of animals will sacrificially protect their own young or can be trained to do so for humans, how often do you see one animal willing to go without food for an entirely different species? This selfless love is another human trait created in His image.
And then there’s hope. What other creatures hope for things they’ve never received? Never seen? Aren’t even sure are possible? But we do. All of us, not just Christians. Why?
We are beings who look always beyond the seen, the obvious, to the thing just out of reach. We, by nature, stretch ourselves toward the unattained, refusing to believe it’s unattainable. We hope. All of us. Because that’s the way God crafted humanity. As creatures who always cling to the belief that things could change, get better, that we could find that thing that we want or need. Even we have no evidence it could happen. Even when we don’t know how it would. Even when we’ve never seen anything like what we hope for.
The oppressed still hope for freedom and equality.
The blind still hope for sight.
The sick still hope for a cure.
The poor still hope for enough, and for more than enough.
The hungry still hope for a feast.
The dying still hope for life.
Whether we’re believers or not, we know that challenges and trials can make us stronger and better. Where faith can make a difference is that we know why and how. We know that our God is a God of hope–that if He did, in fact, instill this in us as part of His image, then it means it’s in the very fabric of creation, of God Himself. We know that hope has a substance–and it’s what we call faith.
We all have something that threatens that hope. We have “that thing.” Maybe it’s the diagnosis. Or the divorce. Or the failure. Maybe it’s the debt. Or the disability. Or the poverty. Whatever it is for you, it’s a real thing that really threatens your hope. It wears you down day after day. It hurts. It debilitates. It steals. It crushes. The weight of it, day after week after month after year, grinds us down and down and makes the hope seen thinner and thinner.
But maybe it’ll help to realize that hope isn’t some fleeting, ethereal thing. It too is real. It’s rooted in the very nature of God. It saw physical form in Christ. And it’s there, always, at the very heart of our faith, promising us that we can #BeBetter and do better and have better and know better and live better…
Because, first, we are made in His image.
And second, because we rest in Him.