THE IMPORTANCE OF HOPE
Hope, second of the three great virtues named in 1 Corinthians 13, can be hard to come by, in life or writing. Refresh Your Hope, third in Lori Hatcher’s “Refresh” devotional series, reminds readers that the essence of hope is found, not in our circumstances, desires, or positivity, but in the character, work, and trustworthy Word of God.
Have you experienced moments (or seasons) of hopelessness? Do family members or friends, co-workers or acquaintances, express thoughts that negative circumstances in their lives have no remedies?
News reports and analysts often present pessimistic reports about war, crimes, inflation, health, and other issues, suggesting no expectation that things will improve any time soon. And even a person with a usually sunny outlook may experience influences from this barrage of negativity.
On the other hand, hope that ignores real circumstances opens us to charges of “pie-in-the-sky” or Pollyanna thinking. Where do we go to avoid both extremes?
In sixty short, readable devotions, Refresh Your Hope takes readers through stressful experiences like waiting, lack of productivity, loss, failure, seemingly futile efforts, pain, trials, sacrifices, prodigals, opposition, family conflict, questioning, aging, and more. In each, Lori shows through biblical texts, personal narratives, and anecdotes that God is the source and provider of hope.
Presenting clear, relevant examples why we may lose hope, she explains reasons to seek God to restore hope, through prayer, His Word, wise counsel and fellowship with godly believers.
As I read the stories Lori uses as examples, I was reminded of children’s and YA books that examine hope, or lack of hope. People without hope become stuck – sometimes paralyzed with fear, indecision, or depression. Negative expectations trap them in attitudes and behaviors that make seeing a way through impossible. Whether real people or fictional characters, they impact others in their sphere of influence with this outlook.
God’s perspective, however, brings mercy, grace, and clarity to circumstances and ideas that can cloud our vision and block out paths to restoration, healing, and resolution. The claim that “Our hope is firmly rooted in God’s character and faithfulness to bring about a future good” may seem trite, but walking with Lori through trials she and others have endured shows that in bringing to God what may seem beyond hope, real people have found insight and strength.
How do subjects or characters in your writing reflect the need for hope, consequences of hopelessness, and means to finding hope in times of stress, pain, or loss?
Even very young children need stories that show how to take a disappointment and look for ways to find new reasons to hope.
I recommend Refresh Your Hope as a resource for every writer: first, as a check for our personal outlook when confronted with hard situations, and second, as a guide for attitudes, outlooks, character development, and story arcs in the writings we offer to our young readers.
Lori will provide a personally autographed copy of Refresh Your Hope to one blessed blog reader. Please leave a comment and a winner will be chosen on January 12.
Lori Hatcher is the author of Hungry for God, Starving for Time: 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women, Joy in the Journey, Refresh Your Faith, and Refresh Your Prayers*. Her ministry includes speaking and encouraging, as well as presenting workshops on writing and editing at writers’ conferences like Write2Ignite, Asheville Christian Writers’ Conference, and Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.
A pastor’s wife, former magazine editor, and career dental hygienist, Lori homeschooled her two daughters and now enjoys her role as Gigi to four grandchildren. A native of Rhode Island, she resides in Lexington, South Carolina.
*available from Our Daily Bread, christianbook.com, and Amazon.