Not long ago I was in a meeting with some well-educated people, brainstorming ways to create an appealing message to capture the interest of those seeking recovery. I suggested incorporating the word “hope” into our messaging. Someone shot back, “No – hope has no outcome.” What?!? I was, quite literally, stunned into silence.
Hope has no outcome? Are you kidding me?!
Flash forward a few months to a recovery conference I just attended. For four days, I talked with people about recovery; people who had been in recovery themselves, people who worked with others who wanted recovery; people who reached out to those in need of recovery. Recovery from addictions and disorders of all kinds – eating disorders, substance abuse, co-dependence, sex, gambling, and other compulsive behaviors. It struck me just how many of these like-minded individuals, who wanted nothing more than to help others, used the word “hope” in their messaging; on their business cards, across their websites, in their mission statements, and even in simple conversation. That little four-letter word. Hope. I wondered how some of them, who were personally recovered from an addiction, would feel if I told them hope has no outcome.
Sometimes hope – the belief that things will get better – is the only thing that gets a recovering addict to treatment another day. And another. And another. I’d say that’s an outcome.
Hope is stronger than fear, and more powerful than discouragement. Hope can light up the room and lighten a heavy heart. Hope has gotten me through many of my own dark days.
It happens to me every spring. I don’t talk much about it. It’s just too painful. But my eyes are always misty with emotion when April hits. The month my youngest son was born. My Levi. With a heart as tender as mine, affected by the outcome of a bitter divorce and toxic custody battle, he did not escape unscathed. Some outcomes are not what we want. Pain. Brokenness. Silence. Estrangement. If I did not have hope of a different outcome, I would have no reason to keep reaching out, to keep trying to make a connection with him. He is my son. I love him. I cannot give up. I want a different outcome. I wish I could go back and change some things, in order to change the outcome. Sigh… I can only move forward, and the hope of reconciliation with him, of a different outcome, drives me – every single day. Love does not give up. And neither does hope. Sometimes outcomes are driven by hope.
I believe in hope. And I believe it does have an outcome. Just ask anyone who is in recovery. And let’s get real – we are all in recovery from something. Maybe those who aren’t willing to admit that, just aren’t ready to face their demons. Been there. Done that. That outcome would be called denial.
The thing that brought me out of my own denial is my faith. Faith in a God who demonstrated the power of love by sacrificing his life, and suffering an excruciating death on a cross, then three days later, overcame the power of death by resurrection. That’s the power of Easter, and the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Hope has no outcome? Tell that to the well-educated religious leaders who nailed Jesus to that cross, and then found his tomb empty three days later. It’s not a fairytale – it’s real. And if you choose to embrace it, it is real life-changing too.
Hope whispers, the outcome IS hope.
What’s in your Easter basket?