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HOPE IN TURBULENT TIMES

Of the three ingredients—hope, purpose, and vision—that go into resilience, none is more essential than hope.

It is the light at the end of the tunnel. The belief that the future will be better and that, in the end, our toil, effort, and perseverance will prove worthwhile.

The need for hope is evident wherever you look. It is something philosophers have mused about for millennia.  

One of the greatest philosophers of the 20th Century is Kermit Lithobates Clamitans. He is otherwise known to us as Kermit the Frog.

Like many philosophers, Kermit is better at asking great questions than coming up with great answers. 

We can easily miss one of his most profound questions because of the setting that frames it and the picturesque language that expresses it.

The question is, “Why are there so many songs about rainbows?”

That is a question worth probing!

On the surface, a number of songs have been written about rainbows. Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz, sang about what life would be like “Somewhere over the rainbow … (where) the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true.” An Irish legend claims a pot of gold is at the end of a rainbow.

Why has each generation been fascinated by rainbows? The atmospheric phenomenon that follows stormy weather doesn’t account for it. Instead, it seems to go back to early history.

One of the earliest references to a rainbow is in the account of the great flood that Noah and his family escaped by building an ark. As they came out of the boat, the account says God promised Noah never again to devastate the human race with a flood. The rainbow was a reminder of that promise.

In a word, rainbows are symbols of a promise. It is a promise, which can inspire and harness hope.

In business, at home, and wherever we go, we need the sort of hope the rainbow symbolizes. Having some source of confidence, some belief that serves as an anchor to a brighter tomorrow is essential to enduring the hardships of the moment.

Since I have ventured into a collection of writings from antiquity, I will round out this blog in that same anthology. It is, of course, the Bible. Interestingly, the word Bible means “book.” When we refer to “the Bible,” we are literally referring to “the book.”

The oldest book ever written in the collection is the book of Job. You have likely heard his story.

Based on his observation and personal tragedy, Job looked square in the face of life and declared, “Man is born for trouble as the sparks fly upward.”

Having been deprived of everything—possessions, wealth, family, health, etc.—Job managed to persevere. 

He was the living embodiment of resilience!

He never expected to find a mythical pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. He was too much of a realist for that. Suffering makes realists out of the most wide-eyed dreamers.

No one was around to encourage Job. He had no support system. Even his wife told him to “curse God and die.” (She did not have what we might call a sunny personality.)

How did he do it? He persevered by means of hope (see Job 19:25-26). 

He lived with the compelling certainty that in the end, all of his highest expectations would be realized, despite harsh times and devastating setbacks along the journey.

That leads to several questions: Do you have hope? What is the source of your hope? What is your rock-solid belief about the future?

If your answer to those questions is vague, even a mild headwind may overwhelm your hope and bring you to the end of your resilience.

I have told hundreds of audiences, “No one lives very well for very long without ________.” The audiences always fill in the right word: HOPE.

Hope is a foundation for resilience, and resilience is a foundation for successful life and work. I hope you will take a moment to make sure your hope has a solid anchor. If it doesn’t, it might be worth your time to see what advice Job has to offer you.

Be safe and courageous,

Chuck

(from Between the Two Horizons)

(To receive this weekly blog in your inbox, send a request to rosie@chuckward.com.)

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