by Lauren Wright
Read Psalm 31:9-16.
When I was in 4th grade, I desperately wanted a guinea pig for Christmas. Being the clever child that I was, I decided that I would name my guinea pig “Hope,” because it was what I “hoped” I got for Christmas. Clearly I didn’t think this through, because I ended up with a male guinea pig named Hope…! At the time, I thought that hope meant wanting something badly. I thought that hope was about wishing and dreaming.
This passage really speaks to the true meanings of hope and trust. The psalmist illustrates the dichotomy of trust and hope with rejection and despair. This passage begins with descriptions of the pain and suffering that the psalmist is facing. Phrases like ‘I am the scorn of my adversaries, the horror of all my neighbors’ speak to this rejection from all in the community, and the isolation and loneliness that follows.
Then, the last few verses show a dramatic change of tone. Hope and trust are brought into the equation in the form of Jesus. The psalmist declares ‘You are my God’. This line speaks truth in powerful ways – by claiming ‘my’ God and not ‘a’ God, the psalmist finds hope and strength.
Scripture is full of illustrations showing that God doesn’t turn God’s back on God’s people. Sometimes in those situations of rejection and despair, we can’t seem to find God. The darkness is so overwhelming that the light cannot be found. But, the fact remains that God is present, in all places, circumstances, and situations.
As people of faith, there are times that we will be called to live in the darkness, when we will feel surrounded by dark on all sides, when hope and trust seem far away, when all we can see is despair and rejection. This can be unsettling. There will also be times that we are called to live in the light, when hope and trust cover any hint of rejection or despair. Many times, we will find ourselves living somewhere in between, facing a mix of all of the above all at once.
A famous Albus Dumbledore quote reads “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” This can be applied to our journeys and experiences in that God, and thus hope and trust, can be found in the darkest and loneliest of times, if one is willing to look.
Lauren is a senior at Virginia Tech and blogs at decidedly undecided.