Hope: The Strength to Carry On

J


ames Lee, a young father, phoned a large city newspaper from a hotel telephone to give a reporter a heart-rending story. The reporter frantically tried to have the call traced but was too late. By the time the police arrived, Lee had ended his life with a bullet in his head.

In Lee’s coat pocket the police found a tattered crayon drawing signed in childish print by his daughter, Shirley, who had been incinerated in a fire five months earlier. On the drawing Lee had written, "Please leave in my coat pocket. I want to have it buried with me." At the time of Shirley’s funeral Lee was so grief-stricken he had asked strangers to attend the funeral. Shirley’s mother had passed away when Shirley was only two years old. There were no other family members to attend.

Immediately before his death, Lee told the reporter that he had nothing left to live for and felt all alone in the world. He gave his few possessions to the church that Shirley attended and said, "Maybe in ten or twenty years someone will see her memorial plaque and wonder who Shirley Ellen Lee was and say, 'Someone must have loved her very much.'"

James Lee lost all hope and ended his life in a lonely telephone booth. Tragically, his story is not an isolated case. Our world is filled with people who feel overcome with a sense of hopelessness.

Hope, like love, is an indispensable quality of life. Many people, when they lose it, curse the day they were born.

Contemporary society, with its slick promotion, promises hope in some very appealing packages, but when the chips are down we discover we have been sold a bill of goods.

Hope, like love, is an
indispensable quality of life.

For instance, hope is not found in science or technology. With all our highly sophisticated technology we have discovered how to put man on the moon and fly spacecraft to Saturn and beyond. We have mastered instant global communications via radio, TV, satellites and the Internet. We have split the atom. We have built computers that can solve problems in seconds which only a few short years ago took weeks, months or even years to solve. Thankfully, we have made remarkable advances in medical science. But we still haven’t learned how to get along with our fellow man or how to meet the needs of the human heart.

Hope is not found in material possessions. In today’s world many worship the god of materialism, measure success in terms of dollars and cents, and ignore the most important things in life–one’s emotional and spiritual needs. Consequently, broken homes and divorce are shattering our families. Rape, child abuse, teenage pregnancies, and distorted sexuality have become a national disgrace while suicide and drug abuse have become national tragedies–all symptomatic of our sense of hopelessness.

The wealthiest nation on earth, the United States, "now leads the world in the consumption of illegal addictive drugs, spending $220 million a day for them."1

Hope is not found in having a physical beauty. Another obsession we cling to is physical attractiveness. The fact is that good looks have little to do with peace of mind.

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