Very, very early on a recent morning I was awakened by chirping. No, not by birds but the smoke detectors instead. Once I woke up enough to know what was happening, I also noticed that our electricity was out. With adrenaline pumping through my body, I took a quick look around the house--just to be sure. But with the random and irritating noise coming from the alarms in addition to the adrenaline rush, I couldn't go back to sleep.
A couple of hours later, I dragged myself to the shower. But first, I decided it might be wise to light a couple of candles, because it was hours before dawn. As I got into the shower, I decided to turn on the bathroom light--just in case the electricity did come back on. And presto a few minutes later, it magically did.
The light (and heat) came on and all was well. Except I kept the candles going because, from my experience, sometimes it takes a couple of times before the electric company has all the bugs fixed. But in this case, once the lights came on, they stayed on.
For me, this is an example of what hope is all about. It's about turning the light switch on even though the electricity is out. It's about having hope despite your current (no pun intended) circumstance. It's about taking an active step when it might be easier to give up and just go back to bed. But it's also about having faith that people will eventually get the job done right.
In this world, it's well and good to act in confidence (turning the light switch on) but we need to be cagey about giving our confidence too soon (keeping the candles burning). People will sometimes fail us and we need to be prepared, but that doesn't mean that we can't give them the benefit of the doubt. The church will sometimes fail us and we may need a back-up plan, but sometimes we have to give it a chance.
Kathy is an editor at Abingdon Press, a Deacon in The United Methodist Church, and a clergy spouse.