Can You Learn Life Lessons from A Mouse?

By no means am I a perfect person. As a matter of fact, I tell people all the time that I can’t believe I’ve been privileged to do some of the things I have the amazing opportunity to do because I am such a flawed human being. Saying you are flawed though has kind of become a cliche in some ways. It’s a pseudo-humility so people will think you are humble when in reality you are quite proud that you are so flawed, because it makes you seem so human.

That being said, I won’t belabor the fact that we are all flawed. You know it. I know it. Which is the beauty of this post.

Recently, I was talking with a friend and she was describing a trip she was getting ready to go on. A six day vacation to see some friends and I am excited for her and wanted to hear more about it. So I asked, “What are you expecting from this trip?”

That’s an important question, I think. “What are you expecting?” We’ll come back to that later.

To be honest, I was expecting to hear a long silence as she contemplated what I thought was a difficult question but she answered almost immediately with a series of things she was expecting to happen while on this trip. As she was laying out the things she wanted to happen and what she wanted to get she said these words, “Hopefully something happens spiritually.” Those words struck me. Not because she wanted something to happen spiritually, which I think is great, I hope something happens spiritually for her too. The word that struck me in that sentence was the word “hopefully.”

I think I can honestly say that one of my least favorite combinations of words in the English language are the words that form the phrase, “All Hope Is Lost.” I don’t think there is a more tragic statement a human being can utter than when they say they’ve lost all hope. It’s interesting to me because the word LOST can mean a lot of things.

When you hear the word lost, there are several different things that come to mind. Pastors talk about “lost souls” all the time, some people immediately start thinking about ABC’s hit TV show, still others hear the word and they think it’s an exact description of what they feel about themselves. But when it’s attached to the word “hope” what is really being said?

It’s certainly possible to misplace your hope. To put your hope in the wrong things and to expect one thing to give you something else entirely. That’s why people empty bottle after bottle of alcohol or jump from meaningless relationship to another. But I don’t think misplacing hope is what is really being said when the word “lost” is attached to the word “hope.” I can misplace my keys, forget about them and lose them. Searching around my house frantically trying to find what I had lost while they are sitting right where I left them. I had just misplaced them. Misplaced hope is still hope. So when we say “all hope is lost” it’s even more tragic then putting that hope in the wrong thing.

Lost hope is the thing that drives the girl to sit in her room alone, with the shades drawn and the music loud as she drags a blade across her skin in order to relieve herself of the pain that hope in the wrong thing had created. Lost hope is when a young man experiences abandonment from his father at a young age and slowly but surely sinks deep into himself, never being able to become the man that God intended Him to be. Quietly, subtly, he lives the life of a dissatisfied shell of his former self because hope was lost long ago.

What are we risking when we say, “I’ve lost hope.”?

Have you ever felt that all hope was lost?

I don’t like the phrase “All Hope Is Lost” because while hope certainly can be misplaced, it is something that belongs to people and it is one of those things that is difficult to take, but is given away by the owner. Hope can be battered and bruised and abused, absolutely. Hope can allow us to put ourselves in situations that will undoubtedly hurt is in the future. But we enter them anyway, in hope that what we are afraid will happen….won’t happen.

If you are a hopeful person, you’ve probably been hurt. Because hope is the thing that kind of drives us beyond risk.

“I hope he won’t hurt me.”

“I hope it’s worth it.”

“I hope I don’t fail at this.”

Those are statements with huge risk attached but hope is what gives us justification to run into them anyway. It makes it seem possible. Hope.

Call me an optimist but I don’t think hope is taken from people. I think hope is given away. I think the nature of hope gives the holder of said hope the power to believe or to give up.

One of my favorite movies, Catch Me If You Can, has a story that recurs throughout the movie about two mice that felt into a bucket of cream. One mouse quickly gave up a drowned, the other mouse swam and swam so hard and so long that it eventually churned that cream into butter and crawled out. One mouse lost hope, the other mouse refused to give up or lose hope and kept fighting even though all logic pointed to the fact that it was going to die. It believed there was a different way and it struggled and fought until it had enough leverage to crawl out of it’s mess.

I love the word hope because even though we are all flawed, we can choose to hope beyond hope. We can choose to believe that something great will happen spiritually as we take a vacation away from the ordinary.

I want to sit here and type the words, “When all hope is lost, we can still hope” because that’s how powerful hope is. Of course, that doesn’t make sense grammatically but hope is kind of an anti-logic. That’s what makes it so beautiful.

If it weren’t for Jesus Christ, I would be condemned to separation from my Creator forever. But since Jesus Christ came to earth, died a death I deserved to die and was raised from the dead, I can HOPE in Jesus. I can hope that my life is bigger than the breaths I breathe each day and I am meant for more than just a short stint on this ball of dirt. I can hope.

The Bible says that it is impossible to please God without faith. It also says that faith is the substance of things we hope for and evidence, the truth, the things that point to the things we can’t see. Without hope, you can’t have faith.

Hope is one of the ingredients of faith.

I love that. Because I can choose to hope beyond hope or I can choose to stop swimming and drown.

Don’t forget that hope isn’t something stolen from you, it’s something you give away. Don’t give your hope away.

Faith. Hope. Love.

What are you expecting?

::

About andy

I like to talk, I like to write. I like to share. This blog lets me do those things. It's just my thoughts, things that happen to me. I'm a pastor and the director of a non-profit organization called Refuge Ministries. (By the way, the thoughts shared on this blog are in no way associated with Refuge, they are just mine...so, don't get upset).
This entry was posted in church, culture, history, hmm..., ministry, thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Can You Learn Life Lessons from A Mouse?

  1. brittany kirkbride says:

    Andy thank you so much for writeing this i seen that you posted a new blog so i thought i would read it. and i really got into it you are so right about hope. im starting to lose all hope on life at the moment but after reading this it has made me rethink to myself and tell myself to calm down and just have faith and everything should work out for me.. so i just want to thank you for writing this blog..

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