“As for man, his days are like grass; As the flower of the field so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is From everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him ...”
(Psalm 103: 15-17)
HOPE – ESSENTIAL AND ABUNDANT PETER STORK
Abstract: This essay reflects on the necessity of hope for human existence. It then describes the nature, limits and pathology of human hope before comparing and contrasting it with Christian hope. I argue that the Gospel subverts and redemptively transforms the human condition through the abundant hope available by faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
hirty years ago, William Lynch lamented: “We human beings, who need hope more than anything else in life, have written little about it” (Lynch, 1987:21). To be sure, therapists and theologians, psychologists and
philosophers have filled this gap since in some measure. Yet, a curious fact remains: a much larger body of literature exists on the liminal experience we call despair than on the life-engendering presence and function of hope. While this focus on the pathology of hope leaves open the question whether a fuller understanding of the malaise will lead to better solutions, thereby expressing hope of sorts, these reflections owe their origin to a different frame of mind. Convinced of the necessity of hope, I propose to present a case for its abundant availability for all who earnestly seek it, at a time when violence—the homicidal progeny of hopelessness—fills our TV screens morning, noon and night. I shall first reflect on the nature of human hope, its object, pathology and
limits arguing that the failure of human hope is symptomatic of the crisis of our time. Next, I shall attempt to show how Christian hope differs from human hope and how the Gospel subverts as well as redemptively transforms the human condition and brings abundant hope. In closing, I...