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The Power of Hope

The power of hope cannot be underestimated in the face of trauma. There are several ways that a person may respond to a traumatic experience such as physical or verbal abuse, or emotional injury. A reactive response, however, that corrects or lessens the damage of a stressful event or situation consists of one important element, and that is hope.

Hope is defined by Wikipedia as “an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.” To develop and maintain a sense of hopefulness and confidence about the future requires intentionality. It requires looking away from negative circumstances and choosing to focus on a desirable outcome.

How was Jesus in His humanity able to live according to the truth in spite of the fiercest oppositions that He endured, not only by his own family, but also by the religious leaders? He knew well that “every act casts its weight into the scale that determines victory or defeat” (Conflict & Courage, p. 351). How could He have sacrificed Himself on the cross in the light of such rejection by those He came to save from their sins? Hebrews 12:2 states that for “the joy that was set before Him [Jesus] endured the cross.” What was this joy? The joy of seeing the redeemed — His trophies. This inspired hope in Jesus.

How can anyone keep from fainting in the mind because of traumatizing experiences? This requires what the apostle Paul calls “good hope” (2Thessalonians 2:16). This is found in Jesus, and it is given by Him. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.” He is the One who can provide new ways of reflecting on those experiences, and provide solutions for difficult situations.

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