Sometimes hope fails us because of the pain of present circumstances. The intensity of the daily struggle can overwhelm us and crowd out hope for the future. We find ourselves unable to focus on a hope-full future because we cannot see beyond the burdens of the present. But we need hope in order to continue the journey. Without it we cannot go on. Without hope there is only the despair that comes when we think nothing will ever change.
Reviewing our experiences of God's help in the past is one way of nurturing hope. When present events crowd out hope, leaving despair and fear, we can turn to the disciplines of remembering. It can sustain our faith and renew our determination to continue the journey.
Remembering is not an easy discipline for us. Our memory is not good. Even miracles seem to age quickly - they become 'miracles of long ago'. Things that seemed unimaginably wonderful at the time can quickly fade in our memory as present concerns demand our attention. Dramatic breakthroughs in recovery that seemed to be powerful signs of God's grace and presence may seem painfully ordinary after a few months. For this reason it may be necessary to find someone to help us with the discipline of remembering. Hope can often be renewed by asking a trusted friend to remind us where we have been. An objective review of the journey to this point helps us see God's sustaining grace in our lives. And that gives us the hope to go on.
Lord, help me to remember the specific ways
you have sustained me in the past.
Help me to remember how I have changed.
Help me to remember your love and grace
so that I can grow in my capacity for hope today.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery