“I was going to quit, but I wasn’t done.” (Sent by Elizabeth R)
Freed went on to write – A cartoon shows a disheveled woman asking, “Do I work at home, or do I live at work.” Are you one of those virtual employees? If you have a strong work ethic, you know the feeling. You’re given a job. You do the job. No excuses.
Some may see this quote as a metaphor for life in general. Life can seem to be overwhelming sometimes and we may have the urge to just quit, to give up, to admit defeat in life; but we are not done. We cling to life and don’t quit because we have hope – hope for a better future.
Out of that hope comes faith. And, that faith assures us that we are no alone in whatever struggles we are facing, God is with us. That faith gives us courage and the resolve to persevere., even in the face of death.
So, today, no matter what challenges you are facing in life, renew your hope and tap into your faith. God is not done yet.
Don’t even consider quitting, you are not done yet.
I like this quote because it harkens back to hope – “There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts.” (Helen Fagin)
The facts and reality of day-to-day life can often get tough or boring, but if one has hope and dreams based upon that hope it is more bearable.
You may have been inclined to answer the question in today’s title with the word “faith”. I would submit that faith is based upon hope and the dream of a better afterlife to come.
One may have somewhat passive hope and dreams or one may use that hope and those dreams to motivate them into action. President Barack Obama put it this way in his Iowa caucus victory speech in 2008–
“Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”
There are many times in life when the “facts” of what is happening around us or to us may not be very encouraging. It is during those times that our faith and the hope that it is based upon sustain us. We get through those times because we know and trust that we can get through them, because we are not alone. We have not only hope but faith in that hope.
There was a quote in the Jack’s Winning Words blog recently that also seems appropriate to use here.
“I trust the next chapter, because I know the author.” (Unknown)
If you have faith in God, you know the author of your life and you can have hope and faith in whatever He has laid out for you in the next chapter of your life. What is even more comforting is that the same hope and faith will carry you on into the chapter after this life. You can be sustained when facing death not in fear, but in hope and anticipation, because you know the author for that, too.
We all have hopes and dreams, based upon those hopes. As for me, I trust the next chapter in my life, because I know the author.
“The audacity of hope: In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us.” (Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention, 2004)
I thought of that quote that I had saved in my collection of quotes earlier this week when I watched one of the little teaser video segments on Facebook from the new NETFLIX show The Sandman.
The fantasy drama show is loosely based upon a DC Comics series by the same name. The Sandman premise is that there is a being, the Sandman, aka. Dream, played by Tom Sturridge, who is responsible for dreams and the dream world, where pretty much anything is possible. We are told that Dream was imprisoned by a mortal wizard for centuries but escaped and now is trying to reclaim his possessions and his power. The show is far-fetched but can be interesting and entertaining to watch, at least in the short segments that I’ve seen.
The segment that I watched that brought this quote to mind is one in which the Sandman battles with woman character named Lucifer Morningstar, the ruler of Hell. Both are powerful characters, and the battle is waged by each creating imaginary personas for themselves to attack the other. They each state “I am…” and then whatever it is they have imagined attacking the other – a man-killing tiger, a tiger-killing serpent, a large serpent-eating bird and on and on. They go through a variety of increasingly powerful and scary evil incarnations of animals, imaginary beasts and then a series increasingly larger objects – planets, solar systems, galaxies and the universe, until Lucifer conjures up a seemingly final adversary, I am the “the death of all things”.
Dream is apparently beaten by the devil and seemed to be dying himself when Lucifer Morningstar asks him the question, “What can you be that can withstand the death of all things?” Barely able to raise his head Dream utters the word – “Hope” and Lucifer realizes that she is beaten.
Hope is the only answer for the death of all things and is the basis upon which faith is built. Hope is the greatest gift that God has given mankind. You need not be an imaginary character on TV, just be yourself and keep your faith strong through hope and prayer. Keep hope and your faith alive and death will have no power over you.
I saw this quote recently and just loved it, because it is such a great positive message of hope –
“I have hope in who I am becoming.” (Charlotte Erikson)
Shortly after saving that quote, I got this graphic in a daily email that I get –
What a great message it carries, too.
I don’t think that you necessarily have to come to a cathartic event, such as entering the chrysalis state like the caterpillar does when it turns into a butterfly, in order to change and become the butterfly that you hope to be. The point is to consciously decide to make the commitment to the changes in your life that will alter the trajectory of it. Commit to turning into the new you.
Women may find the illusion to changing into a butterfly easier to accept than men, but the point is not one of changing one’s outer beauty so much as the inner you changing to become a better and more beautiful person inside – a person that others want to be around and an example for others to follow.
Maybe you can start each day with a little prayer such as,” God give me the strength and perseverance to become the person that I know that I can be.” Just putting yourself in that frame of mind each morning will make each day better and get you one step closer to who you are becoming.
So, have hope in who you are becoming and welcome the change; not into a butterfly, but into the new and improved you. It’s a beautiful thing.
Pastor Freed recently used this quote in his blog,Jack’s Winning Words – “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” (Emily Dickenson)
Sometimes it can be very hard to hear Hope’s little song amidst the calliope of news about hateful acts of deceit or violence that we are overwhelmed with each day; but it is still there. One must consciously pause and search the soul for its presence. Sometimes, we call that pause prayer.
Why take time for prayer each day?
“Our physical, emotional, and spiritual health requires rest. We need to take a break. We need to nurture ourselves. To take a time out to refuel, rejuvenate, and revive ourselves.”
― Dana Arcuri
“Prayer is perpetual rejuvenate force.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita
Prayer gives one the chance to hear Hope’s song. If you listen very carefully to Hope’s little song you may also realize that Hope is singing a duet with Faith, the other little feathered thing that resides in the soul. Hope and Faith always sing together in prayer.
There was a 1960’s song written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono titled, “Give Peace a Chance”. Perhaps in this day and age we need a new song titled, ”Give Hope a Chance”.
So, if your world gets too noisy and overwhelming, take time to rejuvenate by finding a quiet little place (literally or figuratively) to pray and listen for the little song of hope and faith that is there in the back of your mind.
Our lives can seem like the candles sometimes, especially when jarring events snuff out the candle of Peace or the unexpected loss of a loved one causes the candle of Love to flicker out. Sometimes it is all too easy to allow events to overcome us and so we lose sight of the candle of our Faith. In those times all we have is the candle of Hope to show us the way our of the darkness.
If we can get to the point that McLaughlin mentioned, where we realize that the darkness we are in is not permanent by holding out hope for a better tomorrow, we can start to reignite the other candles in our lives.
Recent events in the U.S. and around the world have provided vivid images of people who have lost everything or endured unimaginable hardships and yet still cling to hope. Out of that hope many have expressed their faith that things will get better, and that life will go on. Most often they express gratitude that they still have their loved ones and state that they will rebuild their lives and their homes. They know that the feelings of loss and despair that they may have at that moment will not last.
You do not have to suffer a disaster to be plunged into a dark place. For some, mental illness takes them to those places often. No matter how you got there, the candle of Hope is the way out. Keep Hope burning in your life and let its light show you the way out of the darkness. Peer into the darkness with the light of Hope and you will see God standing there with the candle of Faith ready to be reignited.
Faith is most often the first candle to be relit by Hope. Hope illuminates God as our guide out of our funk and allows us to ask God for His help.
Once you have the candle of Faith burning in your life again it becomes possible to relight the candle of Love and to once again allow the candle of Peace to guide your way through life.
Hold on to Hope…it supplies the light in the darkness.
I seldom see quotes from Ben Franklin that I disagree with, but this is one – “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
Perhaps Franklin meant to advise us not to let reason get in the way of faith. Many great scientists and thinkers, including Albert Einstein, have resolved any conflict that they might have had between faith and reason.
“The more I study science, the more I believe in God.” (Einstein)
I prefer to think of it this way. Faith lies just beyond the boundaries within which reason and logic try to constrain our imagination. Hope also lives in that nether land that is, by definition, beyond our ability to comprehend using logic and reason. In fact, it is hope that brings faith into focus and allows us to see what we do not need to understand to believe.
I think that one can use reason and will logically arrive at Faith as the only answer to the great questions of life – the Why’s and How’s and What happens next questions. At some point one accepts that there are no earthly answers to those questions and realizes that all logical paths lead back to the same place – faith in something that we cannot comprehend but which must exist in order for us to exist.
At the beginning of each episode of the TV show The Twilight Zone the narrator said – “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, the Twilight Zone!” Faith goes well beyond the twilight zone because takes us beyond the limits of our imaginations.
So what Franklin might have said, instead, is, “The way to see by faith is to look beyond what we can see with the eyes of logic and reason and to use hope as your lens to focus upon what is important.”
Open your eyes to faith. See your future through the lens of hope.
I really don’t want to write about failures; but, rather, how you react when you have experienced a failure in your life. I found this quote that kind of sets the tone for this post…
I’ve observed that if individuals who prevail in a high competitive environment have any one thing in common besides success, it is failure — and their ability to overcome it. – Bill Walsh, college and NFL football coach
Failures are an inevitable part of life, unless you never try anything, which would make your life really boring. Some people spend so much time worrying or planning for failure that they actually DO very little. Others develop a fatalistic outlook on life that almost assures the failures that they are confident are about to happen to them.
We don’t have to be highly competitive people in sports or in business to better position ourselves to deal with failures – to overcome them. Overcoming them, by the way, may not always mean continuing to try to do the same thing over an over until you succeed. Sometimes overcoming a failure means learning and accepting that doing the thing that you failed at is not possible and deciding to try something different or a different approach towards the same goal.
Many people spend a lot of time following a failure trying to find something or someone else to blame. That is basically a denial of personal responsibility for the failure or a way to refuse to accept that the failure happened. Some people retreat into a “poor me” response and try to find comfort in the thoughts that the whole world is somehow against their success. They make up conspiracy theories to explain their failures.
A key word in Walsh’s quote is “prevail”. One dictionary definition of the word prevail, when used as a verb is – “prove more powerful than opposing forces”.
How does one prevail and prove more powerful than whatever failure the opposing forces have caused? One can begin by not allowing the failure to extinguish hope. Then you can turn that failure into a learning experience that will help guide a future attempt at success. Instead of spending time asking who or what caused this failure, instead ask, “what can I learn from this and what can I do differently in the future to avoid another failure like this one”. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, turn your energy towards planning a better future attempt or perhaps even a different thing to attempt. Doing that requires two things – letting go of the past (the failure) and continued hope for the future.
I’ve posted here a few times about the intertwined impacts of faith and hope in our lives. Whether hope precedes faith or faith is the bedrock upon which hope is built is a debatable topic. I choose to believe that having faith in God allows us to have hope in the face of our trials and failures in life. It is in that moment of surrender to God with the prayer, “not my will but thy will be done”, that hope is rekindled. It is that surety that God is with us that allows us to prove more powerful than opposing forces – to prevail.
So, what do you with your failures? If you take them to God in prayer, you will prevail. After all we have been told in Romans 8:31 – “If God is with us, who can be against us?”
Remember, however, to pray for the right thing: not that God make the challenge facing you disappear (God doesn’t work like that); but, rather, that God be with you and give you the strength and perseverance to prevail.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” (MLK Jr)
That was the quote used by Pastor Freed in today’s post to the blog, Jack’s Winning Words. It pairs nicely with a sign that I have in my yard right now – “Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.”
Hope and faith are often paired, and one could argue forever about which one comes first or which supports which. Does faith give us hope or does hope lead us to faith? I think that they are so intertwined that the one cannot exist without the other.
Life is filled with small and large disappointments or setbacks, yet a person of faith never loses hope for better days ahead. When faced with disappointments, we search for answers to the question – Why? – but a person of faith learns to accept what has happened, trusting, and accepting that it was God’s will and moving on.
The key to never losing hope in the future is found in the King quote about living with an audacious faith in the future. How can we have that audacious faith? The answer is that we have already been promised a future of everlasting life by Jesus. The trials and tribulations that we suffer here on earth pale in comparison to the promised eternity with God after life here.
The dictionary definition of audacious is bold, daring or fearless. In the context of the events of his day, I suspect that King’s quote was using the fearless definition. That is also a good definition to use for people of faith. Certainly, faith will not prevent the disappointments in life from happening; however, when the fear of death is replaced by faith in life everlasting, one can step into the future with a confident stride. One can audaciously look life in the eye and say, “bring it on”, I’m ready for you. You have faith in God and an unshakable hope for the future.
So, start each day by praying that God recharge your faith and renew your hope. Remind yourself that your faith has already cemented for you an infinite future with God, and you will see the trials and tribulations that you might face today within the proper context, and they will melt away. Hope is a great thing, but your faith is the greatest thing of all.
In his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote today – “Once we choose hope, everything else is possible.” (Christopher Reeve)
I’ve written here before about faith and hope and which comes first. One post in particular that I wrote about four candles representing peace, love faith and hope provided an answer. When the candles of peace, love and faith were extinguished and only hope remained, the flicker of the candle of hope was able to reignite the other three. So, perhaps faith is born of hope or at least hope leads inevitably to faith as the only logical answer to the question, “What happens next?”
But, beyond providing the spark that ignites faith, hope also fuels the imagination and lets us dream about what might be. Hope illuminates what is possible out of the gloom of all that we think is impossible. Hope still says “Maybe”, when all else says “No!”
Pairing hope with faith creates a formidable combination indeed. Hope tells you that maybe it can be and faith tells you that God is with you in the pursuit of that maybe. Hope gives you strength to carry on and faith gives you perseverance to not give up.
When you think about it, the duo of hope and faith are really inextricably intertwined. One cannot have faith without hope. Nor can one really have hope without faith to sustain it.
So, as you start a new day and a new week, stoke the embers of hope in your life and rekindle your faith through prayer. Include your hopes in your prayers. Giving them voice makes them more real and keeps them in front of you. Then start your day with your To-Do list of hopes in mind and God at your side.
It’s a new day and all things are possible to those who believe and have hope. Keep your candle of hope burning.