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hope and history

Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Peace on Earth
To tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on Earth
Jesus sing a song you wrote
The words are sticking in my throat
Peace on Earth
Hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won’t rhyme
So what’s it worth
This peace on Earth
— Bono, “Peace on Earth”

Hope and history.

  • Hope is what we aspire to, what we know is possible.  Hope believes and trusts and holds on to the promises of God.  Hope inspires.
  • History is what actually happens.  History tells the story of our ups and downs, our wins and our losses.  History is littered with beauty and marred by ugliness.

There are times when hope and history tell the same story.  Or, as Bono would say, they rhyme.  We see it when God answers a prayer or a wayward child returns home.  The cancer goes in remission.  A relationship is restored.

There are also times when hope and history do not rhyme.  Prayers go unanswered.  Our children become more distant.  The cancer returns.

I offer no earth-shattering news when I say life is challenging.

But as Christ-followers, we see hope and history a bit differently for we know that hope and history are intertwined, not independent of each other.  What happens in our little chapter of history is part of a larger story — God’s story.  We see history through the lens of hope and not the other way around.