Not Just a Martian Satellite

Did you notice, the UAE has just set a satellite in orbit around Mars!  The satellite’s name is Hope.

A reasonable name for a deep space explorer, surely; because Hope is so much more, and a deep human driver.

Hope lifts one’s view from hints of despair.  Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl wrote that Jewish inmates of concentration camps who retained hope stood a far better chance of survival than those who didn’t.  Hope drives the student in an important exam; Hope sustains the frail patient going into a risky operation, and the woman undergoing yet another in vitro treatment; Hope attends the sailor making her way in fog; forlorn Hope drove the rebels in Les Miserables, and Hope hoists all other uprisings; Hope makes a man stand up again, who has fallen down many times.

Hope is the subject of a well known painting by GF Watts, in which Hope is shown as a blindfolded woman with a harp, on which all the strings are broken except one, and she is listening intently, longingly for its music.  See  Some critics suggested it showed Despair more than Hope, but Hope is the conqueror of Despair, and Watts explained, “Hope need not mean expectancy. It suggests here rather the music which can come from the remaining chord.”
Others, viewing the painting negatively, thought it showed the futility of Hope without accompanying Faith.  PT Forsyth, a Scottish theologian, wrote that the image illustrated that “a loss of faith places too great a burden on hope alone”.
He may be right.  What do you think?

Hope is more than expectation.  It is an apparently irrational song issuing from the depths of a forlorn heart, and it says, “Keep going”; without succumbing to that which opposes or portends.

Hope is the heart of the Prodigal Father, watching the horizon for signs of his son’s return. (Luke 15:20)

CS Lewis defined Christian Hope as the “continual looking forward to the eternal world”.

The Bible says “we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain”, and, “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  (Both from the book of Hebrews.)

What kind of Hope do you have, reader?

Ken F

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