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Bright hope for tomorrow

As we approach the start of another year, Andrew Frere-Smith reminds us of the importance of hope for the new year.

As an eight-year-old, I can remember walking to primary school and passing groups of intimidating teenagers loitering and laughing as they made their way to the high school at the opposite end of town. I hoped that one day I would be as tall as them and no longer feel so small and vulnerable. It was only a few years later and I was the high school pupil looking down on the young ones. My hope had been fulfilled.
As a teenager I hoped that one day I would feel normal and no longer be the gangling, awkward, spotty and embarrassed individual that I had become. Hopes of ever having a girlfriend were a distant dream. Yet today, at 62, I am a grandfather with a wonderful wife, two impressive sons and grandchildren. Sometimes miracles happen, hopes and dreams are fulfilled!
Our personal hopes may sound silly when we reveal them but, actually, they are very important. In the Bible, Proverbs 13 verse 12 says that ‘Hopes deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.’ It is good to have hopes, desires, dreams and ambitions. They often motivate us to give more effort than we might otherwise do. When our hopes are fulfilled, sometimes despite ourselves, we are encouraged to have greater faith.
In this time of uncertainty, many of us are having to learn to live life a day at a time. Having the discipline not to worry about tomorrow can be a constant struggle. I want to be able to plan for the future, to know where I will spend my holiday and who I will be able to share it with. But at the moment these things are not possible. Should I abandon my hopes? Is it better not to think about the future? I don’t think so. I still want to have dreams, ambitions and hopes, but most of all I want the faith of St Julian of Norwich that “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” 
As the vaccines get rolled out, it may not be so long before the pandemic comes under control. In the meantime, I hold onto words from the wonderful hymn, Great is thy Faithfulness, which proclaims that God’s desire has always been, and will always be, to provide us with ‘Faith for today and bright hope for tomorrow’.
Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay.com

This article has also appeared in Good News for Norwich and Norfolk, distributed free to many churches in the county.

AndrewFrereSmith750Andrew Frere-Smith is Development Worker for Imagine Norfolk Together, based in Kings Lynn.



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