Can you look out a window right now?
What do you see?
I am looking out my window and it may sound strange, but when I look closely, I see is HOPE.
What does HOPE look like?
It’s the breeze stirring the finger-like leaves of a row of palm shrubs, their green branches undulating like the arms of a belly dancer.
It’s the honey bee hovering, hovering, hovering and then pausing to sample the blossom on the ornamental ginger plant.
It’s a pesky but determined weed sprouting from a crack in the sidewalk.
It’s even the tiny snail snacking on the basil plant.
It’s a mockingbird ducking into her nest in a wall of jasmine to feed her young.
Some of you, I know, are seeing HOPE as well.
I’ve seen the photos you post on Facebook.
In Tennessee, HOPE shines through a small deer herd grazing near the edge of a wood, while a lone wild turkey studies the ground in search of a tasty snack. (Thanks, Terri.)
In Florida, HOPE is the gentle waves lapping against the sand on a deserted beach at sunset. (Thanks, Lily.)
In Oregon, HOPE is the mist that rises from a powerful rushing waterfall that splits the moss-covered mountainside and splashes off boulders below. (Thanks, Karen.)
In West Virginia, HOPE is a hard-working young father whose strong hands break the moist spring soil to plant a crop of potatoes. His two young sons watch and learn. (Thanks, Sandy.)
There may be times … there are times … when we feel hopeless. It is a part of the human condition.
These days, optimism is a cloak we must slide our arms into each and every morning, wrapping it close to our torsos and cinching it closed with a belt.
There is much written about HOPE in the Bible. One particular verse that encourages me is in Paul’s letter to the Romans:
“May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13.)
The way I see it, the Holy Spirit is my superpower. It's the lens that allows me to focus in see HOPE that I might otherwise overlook.
You really don't have to have a window to see HOPE, but it helps. Having a bit of distance between you and your “subject” can enhance your perspective, like when your camera tells you to move closer to or farther away from your subject.
You can also be encouraged by reading about HOPE, by watching inspiring stories on tv or by viewing those photos I spoke of earlier. Funny cat videos and dog cartoons cartoons make me laugh, but I have to dig a little deeper to find HOPE.
So, if you haven’t already donned your cloak of optimism, please do so now.
Let's look for HOPE together today, my friend, and together, let us pray with the writer of Psalms 33:22: “May Your unfailing Love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.” Amen.