Truck drivers see it all the time. I’ve seen it a few times when we’ve needed to drive through the night.
It comes about the time you’ve opened the window on a frigid night. And you’ve turned to the most annoying radio station you can find. Because the night is getting long, and your eyelids are staying a little too long in the down position. To top it off, it seems like the dark has gotten darker as morning approaches.
Suddenly, there it is. A dim but distinct glow in the eastern sky. Oh, it’s still really dark, for the most part. But the glow will grow. And as it brightens, so does the horizon. Still dark, but something’s happening out there. And you know the long night isn’t going to be forever. There’s light on the edges. And the light is pushing aside a wider and higher swath of that numbing darkness.
Ultimately, there’s that glorious moment when, preceded by glowing clouds, the sun teases the horizon. And in minutes, the darkness has lost. The sun has won. And the first light that had only brightened the horizon soon illuminates the whole landscape. That’s my picture of hope. That’s why, on many mornings, I stand at the window, watching the sunrise. Every sunset in my lifetime has been followed by a sunrise. Without fail.
By virtue of the people-helping work I do, I’ve walked with many through their darkest nights. And beginning the day I lost my wife, I believe I have been walking through mine. And I’m ready to venture a real-life definition of hope. Of defiant hope: Hope is a buoyant confidence, acknowledging the hurt, but anchored in an unseen but certain reality.
No, not wishful thinking. No, not inspirational slogans. Not escapist denial. But a confidence that squarely faces the loss and the unanswered questions, yet chooses to not be defined by them. Rather, to trust life’s Grand Weaver to make something meaningful—even beautiful—out of these dark threads.
Hope requires choices that defy the seeming hopelessness you may feel. In the pages ahead, we will explore five of life’s hope robbers, along with the choices that offer short-term relief—but long term, only more pain. More importantly, we will discover the choices that will help us breathe the life-restoring oxygen of hope.
Choices that don’t deny but do defy the pain of your past. The grief in your heart. The wilderness that surrounds you. The danger in our world. The seemingly unfixable brokenness of your marriage. The bitterness that seethes in your soul. The failure that has made you not want to get up. The sad story that has been much of your life. The person or situation that seems like it will never change.
There is a way to make it through the darkest night. There is a way to raise a flag of hope over the rubble. It’s called defiant hope.