“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing (dream) fulfilled is a tree of life.” runs the Proverb (13:12).

John Cleese, in the movie ‘Clockwise’ chimes well with my experience of following Scotland at football. Farce falls further into farce as he (head teacher) evades his longing to reach an award ceremony and gets deeper in sharne. In the middle of nowhere he jumps up and down like a Banshee and shouts “I can cope with the despair, it’s the HOPE!” When your hopes and dreams have been constantly dashed it’s very easy to give up hope. And yet, without hope it’s hard, maybe impossible, to keep going.

Solzhenitsyn said that it wasn’t the physically strong who survived the miserable and cruel Gulags (concentration camps), but those who had ‘hope’. In the wake of pandemic shutdowns and lockdowns, I suspect many are languishing in danger of losing all hope. It’s amazing the mood-altering difference of hearing some good news for a change: that we’re on the verge of a vaccine for Covid19 and Scotland’s male footballers have reached the Euros, still believing despite the customary last-minute goal against them. ‘In St Steve Clark We Trust’.

We’ve just planted bulbs in the dark soil of our front garden in the hope that, come April/May 2021, they will bloom in beauty. It’s not a certainty, as frost and mites can dent and dash such hope, but, based on past experience we have reasonable hope of colour come Spring. What dreams and longings do you have, what grounds of hope are they based on?

As the sun sets on another day, what grounds of hope do you have for a sunrise? Well, it’s been our experience since birth. However, if our human experience has been one of disappointment after disappointment it will be hard to dream of a positive future, grow hope and foresee a blossoming tree of life grow from a tiny acorn or seed sown in soil.

Sure, there’s ‘false hope’ like Donald Trump’s hope that he’ll find a legitimate reason to remain in The Whitehouse, and cynicism can be toxic in killing fledgling hope. Hard-nosed Lawyer Frank Morrison and journalist Lee Strobel separately set out to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ, on which Christian Faith stands or falls. To their gobsmacking surprise they eventually concluded that evidence pointed to the likelihood that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. This opened them up to experimenting with faith in Jesus Christ, which grew into Eternal Hope, a bright Hope for your darkest day.

St Paul describes God’s Love for us as key to unlocking this Hope (passionate patience) that grows new and renewed dreams and longing in our hearts, when he writes:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5) Let God love You My Friends, Dream and Hope on!