Hope is a light that enters us from the cracks of the walls of disappointments and obstacles. It gives people confidence to stand strong against the obstacles that come in their lives. Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life. Literally it means, “to cherish a desire with anticipation”. It is a creative way of solving the problems of life or it prepares us to solve them enthusiastically. Researchers found that the capacity to hope is a notable human capacity to look to the future and aspire to achieve desired states. A majority of our behaviors such as reading self-help books buying lottery tickets betrays what we hope for , instead of what we are and where we are. Sometimes this comes with an abstract notion or mixed with other human states.
1. Hope in the domain of fear
In human nature, hope and fear have been infused together. These two are born with mankind in its infancy and grow with it. The fear of pain, sufferings, poverty, and disability is a feeling that arises from within. On the other hand, there is hope of security, comfort and prosperity and strength. Every hope and wish that is fulfilled is immediately replaced with other.
Fear and hope define and delimit our thoughts, conduct and goals and the very direction of our lives. Man chooses his path throughout life in accordance with the character and extent. The person whose thoughts are occupied with expectations of wealth, position and power defines his or her goals in bases and directs his or her activities towards these goals. That which preoccupies his mind and concerns is the choice of such means and methods as will materialize his or her hopes and desires in the shortest time.
However, one who has liberated himself from the bondage of such desires does not devote his or her efforts to this kind of goals in an unlimited or unconditional manner, for he or she is the master of himself and is free from the chains of such obsessions.
2. Hope and faith
“Faith and hope are defined in the dictionary as follows: “Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing or a belief not based on proof and hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation or desire. Faith says it is so now, and hope says in the future it could happen”. We need hope and faith, we can look at hope like a stepping stone in elementary school and pure faith as graduate school tests passed. When an individual has no thoughts of faith whatsoever then we must begin depositing hope seeds into their lives.
Hope seeds planted in one’s life can be the catalyst for the roots and the foundations of one’s faith walk. Often times we have to introduce hope way before we can even begin to think about serving 12 ounces of faith. At some point in our spiritual growth walk , we must come to the graduation ceremony of hope for a particular thing. Faith being the substance of things hoped for means that we must have a base mind-set of faith in order to receive what we need from God. We have to truly know and believe that what we set our minds to believe and focus on what will come to pass. Hope speaks of the future and faith speaks for the now in life. So, once we graduate from hope to faith we will then begin to see the greater fruit of the seeds of our thought processes now. We plant seeds everyday even if we think we do not.
3. Faith and expectations
Expectation is demanding exactly what we want to happen regardless of what is actually happening. Expectations are limited to our previous experiences. We are unable to expect something that we haven’t seen before. We cannot expect something better than what we know. Hope on the other hand is much different. While expectation is the assumption that something is actually going to happen, false or not, hope is the wish for something to happen.
Hope is flexible. It is alive. It responds to all situations instead of battling against the ones that appear to be opposite. In the Islamic context, hopelessness has been counted among major sins and humans have been time and again recommended to stay hopeful. The period of youth is an age of aspirations and hopes. To quote Albert Einstein “learns from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow, the important thing is not to stop questioning”.
—The author is a student of Tehran University of Medical Sciences. He can be reached at: [email protected]