Trigger Warning, Death and Suicide.
One of the most impactful things I have ever experienced was a total fluke of a philosophy class I found myself in.
In a season of my life where I was in the deep end of chronic illness and daily debilitating pain, I was attempting to finish university while managing a full-time job. Not to mention daily deep depression, multiple deaths and suicides from the people around me, and feeling extremely distant from God. Furthermore, my Philosophy of Religion professor was removed for sexual misconduct allegations.
His replacement was the sweet, old philosophy professor I had studied under the entire year prior. In a time where it felt like no hope could be found, good old Manny Dy came in with Gabriel Marcel’s Phenomenology of Hope. In simpler terms, we were going to isolate hope to what it is in its purest form.
How this was tackled was from the view that in order to get a purer distillation of what hope is, we have to cut away the parts that hope is not.
What we found was that hope is not a wish nor something that we know will be a certain eventuality. Hope is not something that we can quantify or place, and in fact:
the more certain we are in what our hope is, the farther away from a pure hope it will be.
Marcel also posits that hope has to be rooted in something higher and above us, and he pointed that to God. In a season of my life where I had no interest in living another day and where death really seemed more appealing than living, knowing that the God I believed in, but felt so far from, could still be the guarantor of such an abstract hope humbled me.
I did not know what I was hoping for in that time of life. I just knew that I had to have a hope that I held onto, that God was ultimately my guarantor for each thing I hoped for, known and unknown. I didn’t know then, and don’t know now, what He guarantees me for in this life but I can at least know that He holds a much higher hope for myself than what I could ever hold. This higher hope I can take comfort in is that:
He has the highest view of and the best path for me, and one that ultimately will end in reconciliation with Him.
Life and indeed my walk with God now has made hoping a lot easier. But I still try to live life with an at times abstract – because we hold many things earnestly yet openly and loosely in this world – but ultimately Biblically-rooted hope based on who God is and His character.
My hope is based on nothing more than Him and his Word, trusting that He will be with me every day and carry me faithfully as I walk after Him.