For the week of October 31, 1998 / 11 Heshvan 5759
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 12:1-17:27
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31).
Hope is an essential ingredient for life. Without it life is difficult, if not impossible, to live. But with it, we can face the struggles, problems and frustrations of each day.
Hope informs us that today's sorrows will not last forever. With hope we learn from our mistakes. Hope says "Try again; you can do it!" Hope reminds us that the sun will rise tomorrow; today's darkness will be overcome.
Hope is not wishful thinking or a good attitude. Hope is understanding that there is a reason to believe in a brighter future. We cannot concoct good fortune through a good attitude, though a good attitude is very helpful. But if life is made up of random forces and chance, then to hope for better things is to wish for good luck and nothing else.
Hope is knowing that a great future awaits us and is guaranteed by God. True hope is being aware of and believing in God's promises to his children.
To have that hopes strengthen us so that we can live this life the way we were intended to. If we focus on the circumstances of today and lose sight of our great future we grow weak, unable to go on.
But if instead our eyes and hearts are on the One who holds the future, we will not only cope, but we will rise above life's difficulties. We will not be controlled by our problems. Instead we will make a positive difference in this world.
The image of eagles in our portion is so fitting. Those who hope in God will soar like eagles. Eagles learn to soar on wind currents. Other birds flitter, flutter and flap, but eagles learn to use the air to their advantage.
If we hope in the Lord, then the problems of life will not overcome us, but will become the instrument through which we will soar in this life.
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