Aloha Friday Message – May 23, 2008 – HOPE


Happy Aloha Friday, Beloved.

This is going to be very short because I seem to be low on resources today. I just want you to know that praying for one another really does make a difference. I know that sometimes it doesn’t seem that way, but I am sure that if you think about it, you will remember when everything seemed hopeless, and then – after prayer – things turned too hopefulness again.

Not long ago I found something about hope here:

It went like this:

Learned Hopefulness & Happiness
The headline in the Edmonton Journal (Friday, March 21, 2008) read “Surprise! Money can buy happiness” caught my attention. It caught my attention because I am all too aware of previous studies on happiness that stress once a person’s basic needs are met, more money does not make one happier. Apparently, as Elizabeth Dunn, a University of British Columbia psychologist found, giving does increase our happiness.

This research is not surprising when we look at how volunteering or helping another increases our hope or what Zimmerman (1990) named learned hopefulness. I see this happening with Hope Kids in our HOPE KIDS programs and especially in our Hope-Focused Service-Learning program.

In the Hope-Focused Service-Learning program children and youth develop skills, knowledge and attitudes that help them envision and work toward a future in which they can participate. I have seen youth who for all intents and purposes demonstrate what we understand as learned helplessness at the beginning of our work. These youth do not see themselves as contributing to their own well-being. They most certainly do not see themselves contributing to the well-being of others. They often blame others for their failures. When these youth explore, their hidden hopes and discover new hopes and ways of achieving those hopes under the guidance of a caring teacher who listens well and encourages them to use their hope to develop new skills, a new sense of what they are capable of and want to work toward becomes possible not only in their eyes, but in the eyes of other adults and peers with whom they interact.

Aknin, a student research collaborator in the study states that, “Making the right decision with money seems to promote self-esteem.” I wonder what future happiness studies will report when participants in the Hope-Focused Service-Learning program use hope to determine where and how to use their talents and money to make the world a more hopeful place.

Another entry from that same location says:

The Importance of Making Hope Visible
Brenda Martin, a Canadian, who is now on suicidal watch after her court date was missed once again in Mexico, reminds us how important hope is to our survival. Friends quoted on CBC radio today explain how Brenda has lost hope. Hopelessness can be manifest in suicide ideation (Beck, Kovacs, & Wiseissman, 1975). Brenda’s story reminds us of the connection between hopelessness and suicide. What does this have to do with learning to hope you ask?

I believe Brenda’s story reminds us that it is incumbent upon those of us who interact with children and youth to ensure we are uncovering and connecting to a child or youth’s hope as well as feelings of despair. It is important that we create opportunities to make hope visible and accessible (for more information the ‘Nurturing Hopeful Souls: Hopeful Practices and Activities for Children and Youth’ will be available at the Hope Foundation of Alberta April 15, 2008).

Brenda Martin does not have control over her current situation which has brought on feelings of hopelessness and concerns for her safety. Hopefully things will take a turn for the better for her. I believe the media is using a hopeful strategy of informing the public of her situation as a way of making a difference for her. Finally, I believe her story reminds us of how important it is to find ways to connect to and uncover feelings of hope and hopelessness so that suicide is not the only option one sees in times of deep despair.

So what Word have I hidden in my heart that defines hope for me?

Jeremiah 17:7-8 – Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. (NKJV)

Psalm 39:7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.

1 Timothy 1:1-2 (New International Version)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Beloved, I have learned (over and over, unfortunately) that it is pointless to place our hopes in anyone or anything but Christ. God has placed Jesus at the nexus of past and present, hope and despair, as well as sin and salvation. Nothing surpasses the hope and peace that comes through Christ.

Romans 5: 3-
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Romans 8:38

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For me, that is hope. When I look around the world and see loved-ones suffering; innocents being persecuted, tormented, and terrorized; natural disasters overwhelming the great and the small alike; the oceans, the lands, and the very sky above us polluted and dying; then I turn my eyes toward Jesus, and I see Hope.

You know, I went to a college called Hope College in Holland, Michigan. It uses an anchor as a symbol of the strength of hope. Hope is the Anchor That Holds. My hope is in the Lord, Jesus Christ. I want to share my Hope with you. Come, let us sit down, and reason together. There is much in which we can hope!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!

See you next week ….


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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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