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Hope

“Christians are told by the authors of the New Testament to rejoice and be people of hope. However, living in the same world as nonbelievers, Christians still experience, like everyone else, moments of doubt, despair, despondency….The opposite of hope is despondency and despair. According to the spiritual tradition of the Church, the state of despondency and despair is the most grievous and horrible condition that a person can be in. It is the worst and most harmful of the sinful states possible for the soul. The loss of hope is the worst possible state, because without hope, nothing else is possible; certainly not faith. If a person is faithless, he can be chastised and convinced. If a person is proud, he can be humbled; impure, he can be cleansed; weak, he can be strengthened; wicked, he can be made righteous. But if a person is despondent and despairing, the very condition of his sickness is such that his heart and soul are dead and unresponsive to the grace of God and the support of his brothers.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh, Fr. Thomas Hopko)


“Do not be despondent when the clouds of hell, one darker than the other, descend upon your soul; when infernal malice, envy, doubt, obstinacy, and other passions, rise up in your soul; know surely that the gathering of these dark clouds upon your mental horizon is inevitable; but they are not always there and will not remain long; they are like the appearance of dark clouds on the sky in nature—they pass over and disappear, after which the mental atmosphere of the soul is cleared up again. In nature there must be clouds on the sky, and the darkening of the light of day; but these clouds are not constant, they soon pass away, and then the light of the sun shines again with renewed power.” (St. John of Kronstadt)


“It is interesting to observe how over time, we can forget realities that were once at the forefront of the minds and hearts of many. This world can have that effect on us. We are all so busy. As a result, that which we can readily see, rather than the unseen, tends to take over in our lives. As our lives become more intense and more pressure filled, our hope in the unseen can begin to fade. As St. Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians, “We do not look at the things which are seen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“…despite the corruption and death of this world, the hope for eternity is the foundation of all human happiness. It is also the root of joy and peace. How can we have lasting joy without the hope of the resurrection beyond death? And who can have peace of mind, heart, and soul without the expectation that all our troubles and sorrows will reach their end in the blessed life of eternity?” (Fr. Basil)


“When I was much younger, I was cynical for a time. It was largely because I didn’t hope in anything beyond my present circumstance. That changed and deepened as my relationship with God changed and deepened. Even fairly recently, during the darkest of times, I didn’t lose hope because of the trust that was now a part of me through Christ. I also found that the hope I have in the future, in the time Christ promises when all tears and sorrow will be wiped away, bleeds over into the present and affects the experience of the present greatly. This type of hope kept despondency at bay, freed me from the tyranny of anchoring it solely to my desired outcome, and enabled me to take beneficial actions that I wouldn’t have taken without hope and this type of submissive trust that no matter what the outcome, He is there.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“We have within us deeply rooted weaknesses, passions, and defects. This cannot all be cut out with one sharp motion, but patience, persistence, care and attention. The path leading to perfection is long. Pray to God so that He will strengthen you. Patiently accept your falls and, having stood up, immediately run to God, not remaining in that place where you have fallen. Do not despair if you keep falling into your old sins. Many of them are strong because they have received the force of habit. Only with the passage of time and with fervor will they be conquered. Don't let anything deprive you of hope.” (St. Nectarios of Aegina)


“In the rough stretches of our spiritual journey, we need a reason for our hope. Otherwise, we will give up in despair…Hope…is not empty. It is not desperate longings thrown into the unknown future. Hope must have something or someone to believe in, a trusted supplier that will bring about the goodness it expects. That confidence in the source of hope is built from the experience of trust. That means for believers our relationship with Jesus Christ is the foundation of our hope. We have our hope “in Him,” just as the apostle says, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). The closer we are to Christ, and the more we abide in Him, the stronger our hope will be.” (Fr. Basil)


“We cannot expect that, in this life, there will ever be a time when we are not carrying wounds. Our wounds will be with us from now until the hour of our death. But we can grow in hope and confidence that, by grace and in love, God is using our wounds like Jesus used his own wounds. Through our wounds, as we seek to imitate the life of Jesus, we pray some may be healed. As we integrate our wounds into our daily work, we can be confident that we are participating in the life of Jesus.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)


“Hope is more like a treatment plan than an adjustment: in other words, hope takes time to shift toward healing.” (Makoto Fujimura)


“I am strangely comforted by the fact that every time I want to give up and stop hoping for things to get better I can’t. Hope remains with me even when things are getting worse. What am I to make of this? Does it mean my faith is strong? Does it mean that I am just stubborn, or even stupid, in the face of a reality? I really don’t know and frankly, the older I get the less analytical I am becoming. I just know I can’t stop hoping even when I am sick of hoping. I think this speaks more to God’s nature and love than anything else. He’s my hope.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“There is a difference between hope and anticipation. To hope is to desire something with the expectation that you will receive it in the future. But to anticipate something is to experience what receiving it will be like in advance. A child may hope for a birthday party. But if she anticipates it, she feels as if its reality has already come. She is filled with the happiness of expectation. In today’s reading of 1 John 2:18-3:10, the apostle notes that the hope to be “like Christ” can be so strong that believers anticipate it in the present. Accordingly, John reveals the hope of the vision of God, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (vs. 3:2). Then the apostle goes on to describe the anticipation of this hope, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (John 3:2-3).” (Fr. Basil)


“Hope is more than wishful thinking, more than optimism. It is settled confidence concerning things to come. This hope is so sure that we can patiently endure suffering in anticipation of Christ's Kingdom.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 8:24)


“A great service we can do for ourselves and others in our lives is to learn to convert our expectations into hope. Expectations are a great source of grief and aggravation both for us and for others. An expectation consists of a rigid, self-made construct that maps out in advance what others are supposed to do, feel, or be. So much of our frustration in life comes from expectations. Living with expectations rather than hope can also be a significant source of anger. Expectations need to be deconstructed and reframed in the form of hope.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Where expectations are rigid, hope is flexible. Where expectations are unforgiving, hope is forgiving. Where expectations lead to fragility, hope leads to resilience. Where expectations lead to repeated setbacks in our spiritual life, hope allows us to navigate life’s disappointments without losing ground. When we replace our expectations with hope, we are opening to ourselves a wellspring of humility. Expectations are often born from pride, whereas hope is born out of humility. Hope could be defined as a peaceful and gentle desire or a gentle longing. St. Paul in 1 Corinthians, when describing the great virtue of love, states that love “hopes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Love hopes; it does not expect. Expectations and love are incompatible.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“It is actually His taking on human flesh from the Virgin which led to the destruction of death and His triumph over hell. It turns out that that which is a sign of human frailty, fragility and futility – our being subject to sickness, sorrow and suffering but especially our mortality – is the very means God is using to accomplish our salvation. This should give us hope in God’s love and power even in the midst of a fallen and broken world.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“The soul that desires to please God needs first of all patience and hope, because one of the tricks of the devil is, in time of trouble, to make us despondent and divert us from hope and trust in God. God never allows those who trust in Him to be overwhelmed by temptations so as to reach utter exhaustion; for says the Apostle, God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation, He will also dispose the issue of it, and enable you to bear it [I Cor. 10:13].” (St. Macarius the Great)


“Sometimes, without realizing it, we forget hope and instead seek control. It is a temptation for all of us. We convince ourselves that if I just work harder, stay busier, and organize my life more, that I can rebuke or control the wind and sea, the chaos and stress, in my own life. What we so often don’t realize is the more we try to quiet the storm of our stress and fear through over-control and managing every detail of our life, the worse we make the storm within us. The more we try to control everything and everyone in our life, the more we find ourselves taking on water.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“Hope, that least of the spiritual virtues, is the evidence of trust in the Lord within us. To surrender to defeatism, to give in to the feeling that you are as you are, nothing will change, is to refuse a challenge of the spirit. Here’s the difference between our spiritual ancestors and us—or at least those of us who will not make an effort to learn what they are made of. Is it not ironic that in our time of human advances in technology and science, when striking breakthroughs in medicine occur routinely, pushing the limits of knowledge, in sporting events, breaking records in all phases of athletics with almost each international trial, it is in spiritual development that we lag behind…” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


“Those of us who seek to follow after and draw close to God can expect to spend our lives engaged in a struggle, a wrestling match, with the evil that dwells within our hearts. We can expect to be lonely, to be tired, to be afraid, to suffer pain, and to be unable to understand the world around us and what is going on inside of us. At the same time, we have witnessed the fact that Jesus Christ overcame all of the evil that we have to offer and more besides. Because He has already won the battle which we all fight, the peace that we seek, the simply joy and contentment that we hope for in life, all lie with Him. If we are following Christ down the path which He walked, which includes His journey to the Cross, then we have no need to ever fear or worry, because we know that no matter how desperate or dark any hour may seem, we have seen how this story ends. We know the point toward which we are journeying, and it is eternal life with our Lord.” (Father Stephen De Young)


“Hope…means…a continual looking forward to the eternal world…It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither.” (C.S. Lewis)



“Let us not be surprised, however, if hope is not what the world feels when it looks back upon the year 2020 and into the New Year of 2021. By many people, the year 2020 will be remembered as one of calamity: the year of the covid-19 pandemic; of violence perpetrated upon the weak by the strong; of civil unrest and rioting; of political polarization and turmoil; of fires, storms, and floods….many of us grappled with personal tragedy throughout the year, with the loss of loved ones, chronic and acute illnesses, financial ruin, accidents, abuse, addiction, and every other temptation and challenge. In the New Year, these troubles may well continue, or new ones may come…We must have perseverance, but Christ promises us hope: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Who was given to us” (Rom 5:5)… This is our calling in 2021, and every day of our lives: to enthrone Christ in our hearts, so that it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us (Gal 2:20). This is our hope…” (Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America) 


“The truly Good News for us, in the midst of the craziness of the coronavirus, is that by bearing this cross of fear, isolation and uncertainty with hope in God and with self-sacrificial love for our neighbors, by enduring this “fiery trial” with patient endurance, we open up our hearts to a foretaste of the heavenly joy of eternally being in the presence of our Lord (Matt. 25:21,23). As we continue to bear this cross, may we persevere in prayer, learn self-denial through fasting, and do good works of mercy to those in need around us. Prayer makes us united in God, even when physically separated.” (Fr. Jonathan Lincoln)


“Even behavioral scientists…who focus on the psychology of happiness which emphasizes contentment and hope, note that courage, persistence and bravery in the face of adversity, the winter periods of our lives, are characteristics that have to be cultivated in order to have a pleasant, good and meaningful life. In other words, winter has to precede spring. Coping with psychological and spiritual winter, for example, means one has to learn that he/she can function, with hope toward a more joyous future…, even while in a fearful, anxious state…” (Fr. George Morelli)


“Hope motivates and directs our lives. When a child is born, we hold it tenderly as a bundle of hope. When we send children to school, we put our hopes in their backpacks. When couples marry, they receive the blessings of the hopes of their family and friends. When we take up our life’s vocation, we hope for a successful and useful career. When we retire, many wish us well. And even on our deathbed, hope does not abandon us but is transformed into anticipation of the blessed rest of the saints in Christ. To lose hope is to languish in despair. At each step of life, we need to trust in hope. Above all, we need to rely on the God of hope whose promises always go on ahead of us, leading us to the fulfillment of His good will.” (Fr. Basil)


“Hope comes in glimpses, almost never in whole.” (Makoto Fujimura)


“Hope is more than wishful thinking, more than optimism. It is settled confidence concerning things to come. This hope is so sure that we can patiently endure suffering in anticipation of Christ's Kingdom.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 8:24)


“ ‘We were saved by hope [Romans 8:24]. And this is what he is saying: We are not to seek our all in this life, but also to have hope. For this is the only gift that we brought into God, that we believed in Him what He promised should come, and by this path alone were we saved. If we then lose this hope, we have lost all that was of our own making.” (St. John Chrysostom)


“Hope and despair stand close by each other, and yet hope can still seem illusive. Our troubled and aching world distinctly hopes and suffers in the context of God-marked goodness and of human-marked sin.” (Makoto Fujimura)


“Is there hope? What does it look like? Where and what is it? Hope, first of all, must be realistic. …That is, hope can be hope only if it admits that which is darkest while urging toward the light. …Realistic is not so much concerned with practicality as it is about truthfulness….Hope also often takes time to mature….Time can be both a threat and a friend to hope.” (Makoto Fujimura)


“…the message we share as the voice of Christ is one of hope.  In the Gospel we see hope in His ministry and words. Through the truth and healing Jesus offered, hope was renewed in the lives of many. His presence engenders hope in our lives; and in a world that is challenged by constant change, where many are struggling to find meaning and purpose, we offer hope as His voice.” (Archbishop Demetrios of America)


“At times, we get distressed, so we pick up our spirits and move along, allowing God to share in the burden. “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is His grace that transforms our weakness to His strength. This is how we wake up every morning with thanksgiving in our hearts and on our lips, because, had it not been for His assistance, our weakness would pull us down into hopelessness.” (Very Rev. Elias Bitar)

“…expression of thanks in the midst of a terrible storm teaches us to be thankful to God even when circumstances appear hopeless.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 27:35)

“Fear often causes us paralysis – not physical – but mental and spiritual that can make us stagnant and afraid to do what we know we should do. We can feel stuck and listless and bit hopeless. Placing our trust in Christ, and committing to deepening our relationship with Him over time, melts away this fear and replaces it with a renewed sense of both life and joy.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Quality of Life’ is more than a sound body, it is a heart free of fear and unforgiveness. It is joy even in the midst of trouble. It is courage in the face of hopelessness and anxiety…This is made possible through only through Christ who fills us with His life through the Spirit if we are willing to accept His grace and the abundant life He promises.” (Bishop Joseph, Sacramental Living Ministries)

“See what we are taught to expect of God! He comes even when His beloved are dislocated and in search of life’s truth. We often lose hope in the face of worldly troubles. However, it is precisely while on such tough journeys that God calls us to move forward confidently.” (OCPM 9/7/2016)

“The claim that Jesus is God also gives us the greatest possible hope. This means that our world is not all there is, that there is life and love after death, and that evil and suffering will one day end. And it means not just hope for the world, despite all its unending problems, but hope for you and me, despite all our unending failings.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“…because the righteous life requires sustained effort, there remains the temptation to fall into hopelessness…Despair is the absence of hope.” (OCPM 12/9/2016, Father Stephen Freeman)

“Hope and patience are the staffs to lean on when we are worn out by worldly trials.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

“The crown of all good works consists in this: that a man place all his hope in God, that he find recourse in Him once and for all with his heart and strength, that he be filled with compassion for all, and that he weep before God, imploring His help and mercy.” (Venerable Isaiah the Recluse)

“Don’t let you life’s goals be so unreal that you awaken too late and miss the reality of God’s truth. Happiness and hope can be a reality, but only when they are based on God. Because reality is in God, we should get as close to Him as we can in order to be realistic about life.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 73:20)

“All acts of hope expose themselves to ridicule because they seem impractical, failing to conform to visible reality. But in fact they are the reality that is being constructed but is not yet visible. Hope commits us to actions that connect with God’s promises.” (Eugene H. Peterson)

“No matter what has happened, it doesn’t spell the end of God’s ability to make it good. God is completely capable of taking leftovers and making a gourmet meal. He is never left without options. And He never leaves us hopeless." (David Edwards)

...we must be mindful of our limitations. Some strive to pray and fast beyond their ability, which often leads them to giving up and losing hope. Being too austere can be just as detrimental to our spiritual life as being too lax..." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“Not only is Jesus our ultimate hope, it is He who lovingly strengthens us to endure trials…Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace…” (Foundation Study Bible, 2 Thessalonians 3:18, Romans 15:13)

“Christians sometimes think that we are not supposed to grieve, because our faith and theology provide us with confidence about heaven and eternal life. But while Thessalonians 4:13 says that we are not to grieve as those without hope, we grieve nevertheless. Those without hope grieve in one way; those with hope grieve in another.” (Albert Hsu)

“Without Christ, our world is devoid of hope, and for others to know this Christ, they must be able to see Him in us." (Abbot Tryphon)

“Nothing new is happening in our present age that has not happened in ages past. And, just as men and women brought past generations out of darkness and despair, so too this older generation must come forth with hope and faith, bringing the light of Christ to an age that is fast losing hope.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God.” (St. Isaac the Syrian)

"In raising human nature to heaven by His ascension, Christ has given us the hope of arriving there ourselves." (St. Thomas Aquinas)

“Hope has a distinctly Christian flavor to it. Unlike optimism, which is secular in nature, Christian hope isn’t centered on what human beings can do, but on what God has done. Hope is an extension of faith; if faith is a tree, then hope is the branches of the tree. The concept of hope has everything to do with the Kingdom, which is a present reality. This Christian hope is a hope that involves a better future intruding on and decisively shaping the present.” (Tom Papagiannis)

“Hope is more than wishful thinking, more than optimism. It is settled confidence concerning things to come.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 8:24)

“Sentiment is shifting sand. You can have warm feelings toward God without faith, you can have feelings of optimism without hope, and you can have feelings of sympathy without love. Our God is not sand; He’s a Rock.” (Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler)

“Here is the secret of true optimism—no matter what happens, God reigns, and He is at work to bring out good from bad. For the Christian, the best is yet to come.” (Dale Galloway)

“The way we relate to others has an effect on their lives—and ours. If we make an effort to be positive and live our lives with hope and faith, those around us profit and become healthier in spirit and in heart. Giving ourselves over to anxiety and fear does nothing but bring us down, and it pulls those around us down as well.” (Abbot Tryphon)

"If the spiritual battle seems hopeless and the struggle too much for you, do not be disheartened and do not give up...Falling and getting up again, starting over— this is what repentance and Christian devotion are all about." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“Hope acts on the conviction that God will complete the work that He has begun even when the appearances, especially when the appearances, oppose it …God does not depend on our willpower and commitment to transform a hopeless situation.” (Eugene H. Peterson, Henry Cloud and John Townsend)

“God picks us up, carries us a little way on the journey, and then puts us down for a rest. Then God picks us up and carries us a little farther, and stops, giving us small increments on the journey, one piece at a time, in the hope that we might stop focusing on where we are going and instead notice where we are.” (Lillian Daniel)

“Human beings are built with this divine blue chip for hope, with this inborn godly capacity to set our minds on the things above, and to see resurrection and new life even in the hardest situations.” (Lillian Daniel)

"Let us have unwavering confidence and hope in God’s promises, even when events seem to run contrary to His word. For God’s word is capable of overturning our sensory impressions and even achieving what statistics assert to be impossible.” (Dynamis 6/10/2015)

"If our faith is strong, we don’t need to be afraid of what lies ahead...no matter how powerful he becomes or how terrible our situation seems. God is in control...There is always hope…Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all." (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dale Carnegie)

“When you say that a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God." (Charles L. Allen)

"Hope is much more than a mood. It involves a commitment to action...What we hope for should be what we are prepared to work for and do bring about as far as that power lies in us." (John Polkinghorne)

"The real hope is not in something we think we can do, but in God, who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see.” (Thomas Merton)

“The great hope for all believers is in the Resurrection. Because Jesus Christ came back to life, so will all believers, including those who have already died. Therefore, we need not despair when loved ones die or world events take a tragic turn. God will turn tragedy to triumph, poverty to riches, pain to glory, and defeat to victory. All believers throughout history will stand reunited in God’s very presence, safe and secure….Our perspective on life remains incomplete without this hope." (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 1:10)


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