Have you ever hoped in or for something so strongly and then had that person or thing fail?
Over the course of my young life, I have struggled with the word hope. I would hear people use this word in different contexts that would significantly alter the meaning of it.
I would hear my friends say that they "hoped" to receive this or that as a birthday present.
I would hear my sister say that she "hoped" that we would have our favourite food for dinner that night.
And then I would go to church and hear people talk about "hoping" in God to heal their mother from cancer and "hoping" that God would alter the condition of countries overseas.
How is it that we could hope for potato chips and world transformation in the same sentence?
I didn't understand it, so I dismissed it. I developed a way of viewing life with uncertainty in pretty much everything except whatever I could control, because if I could hope in anything, I could hope in what I could control...right?
Well, I thought so-- until everything I was trying to hold on to and put my hope in failed me.
I put my hope in my music and I failed to pass a critical audition.
I put my hope in my friends, but I couldn't control our relationships.
I put my hope in my school work but this only led to chronic stress.
I put my hope in health, exercise and nutrition, but this led to failing health, disordered eating habits and obsession.
I came to realize that I cannot put sure hope within myself and my own ability to accomplish anything for myself. I couldn't even put hope is self-care and self-love because the more I focused on that, the more selfish I became.
So I took a few steps back to reanalyze this word. What was the true meaning of hope? I realized that hope was never meant to be a passive wish, but required a call to action. In anticipation and expectation we hope in something, or perhaps Someone, because we know that He won't fail us.
I began to shift my perspective and placed my hope in Jesus, the one who never fails. And this hope brought transformation to my life. I no longer had to be in control, because He already is.
As I continue to understand the true meaning of the word "hope," I realize that it is not a one-sided call to action. I believe that we are also called to be the fulfillment of hope for those in need, or in other words, God’s hands and feet in this world. On thinking back to the many situations of hopelessness in my life, I've realized that more people are facing situations of hopelessness than I can even fathom as a Canadian citizen.
Countless children, women and men are trapped in bonded labour and other forms of slavery in many parts of the world.
Some of them have lost hope, and some of them may be holding on to one last thread, praying for an end to their suffering.
A great example of this is the story of our client Suriya who was trapped in slavery with his cousin Vijay. Vijay was able to escape from the abusive situation they were in and went back to his family for help.
Suriya as a young boy
I can only imagine the hope that Suriya was holding on to, the hope of his cousin being able to bring rescue to him and others who were trapped with him. Suriya's family was able to reach out to local authorities and IJM to lead a rescue mission to find Suriya and bring him home.
A recent photo of Suriya
Through working at IJM Canada, I've realized that God has called us to answer the many cries for help and to bring hope to the hopeless. But it doesn’t end with IJM. All of us have been called to transform the meaning of hope in this world.
This task isn’t easy. It’s one that requires effort, intentionality, and consistent action.
Today, I challenge you to ask yourself how you can provide hope for others. Through your resources, relationships or even your words, you can offer hope and do your part to transform the world.
Tiffany Kralka is a recent graduate of the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University and currently serves as the Operations Assistant at IJM Canada. In addition to her studies, she has worked for a commercial office cleaning company, taught piano lessons and was the administrator of the Worship Academy at her church, Open Door Christian Fellowship.