“I hope, for more love, more joy and laughter
I hope, we’ll have more than we’ll ever need
I hope, we’ll have more happy ever after
I hope, we can all live more fearlessly
And we can lose all the pain and misery
I hope, I hope
Whenever I listen to this Dixie Chicks song I’m reminded of the ancient proverb (possibly St. Augustine’s) that says “To sing once is to pray twice.” Hope is something far better sung than said. On this week of Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the expectant lyrics and moving melody of Natalie Maines & Co.
I’m a pretty big Dixie Chicks fan; I own multiple albums, have seen a documentary or two, followed their careers, etc. I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen much evidence that their collective hope rests primarily on the return of Jesus or God’s promise to make all things new. I haven’t seen that Jesus is their only hope to, as I’ve heard it said, make all the sad things come untrue. Still, I find myself challenged and uplifted by their truthful dream every time I hear it. Their art, in many ways, captures the essence of our longings as we anticipate the coming of the Kingdom.
To paraphrase a friend of mine, stewardship of hope is gift given to all humanity, not just to the unredeemed.
In other words, all can find reason to hope, but none so much as the Christ-follower.
And yet, why is the hope of of a great swath of Christ-followers so dwarfed by those who have no legitimate reason to hope? May we as a people never be known for our judgment, but may we always be distinguished by our hope.
I heard a story once of a man who had no reason to hope. He was too old, he’d seen too much, and he knew the future was too bleak. The world was too broken, he was too inadequate, he was surrounded by too many people who’s hope had long since died. It was precisely this bleak, dark setting that gave birth to one of the most expectant lines of human literature ever penned: “Against all hope, he in hope believed.”
When your paths diverge, may you always take the one traveled by hope,
Because it will make all the difference.