A research institute recently reported that we, as Americans are “an increasingly dour and divided bunch…more suspicious, pessimistic, and convinced that the government does not pay attention to [us].” Another report says,“72 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. is still in recession.” An August 2014 article in the Washington Post reported, “When asked if ‘life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us,’ fully 76 percent said they do not have such confidence.” How discouraging! And the daily news only seems to add to the discouraging outlook.
With this turbulent political season, it seems that we slip further into a dismal hole of despair as we hear accusations of lewd language, infidelity, lying, and criminal activity. We may wonder if anything good is happening. Are there still honest, trustworthy people in our nation? For several weeks I have interacted with some young adults who I believe represent the best of the next generation, and I have HOPE.
About two months ago, I decided to audit a course at the seminary where I graduated. The study has been good, and I’ve learned a lot, but my fellow students, all of whom are a couple of decades younger than I, have given me much to think about. We are an eclectic group of men and women, married and single. (I’m the only widow.) Some are young parents; others are newly married with no children. A couple young men are still in the Army and have missed classes for military responsibilities.
From their comments, it’s obvious to me that they love their families, are intelligent and quick witted, care about people and the direction of our nation, and want to make a difference in this world. They are not in the streets wrecking cars, vandalizing businesses, and taunting police. They are quietly, but with determined purpose, fulfilling their roles as friends, spouses, parents, and students, preparing to lead the next generation with integrity. You see, their hope—and mine—comes from the Lord who gives us hope for today and for tomorrow.
Several weeks ago, everyone in class—in fact everyone in the seminary—was given a bracelet with I Thessalonians 5:17 inscribed: “Pray continually.” The accompanying guide included daily directions for prayer needs. This was student initiated. With young adults like this, how could I not help but have HOPE? These young adults have shown me that not everyone in this world wears a deceptive mask of deceit and duplicity.
Toward the end of his letter to the church at Rome, the apostle Paul said, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
As widows, we often feel alone in stressful times, but I trust that you too have positive influences that bring hope—good friends, children and young and older adults—with whom you can share. And may God fill you with HOPE today.