Today's sermon at church was on the hope we have in the resurrection of Christ. Our preacher made a comment along the lines of "if you are without hope, then something is wrong with your thought process. The answers you've found to your questions are obviously wrong." Really? Does hope=truth? Hope certainly feels better than hopelessness, but can any conclusions be drawn about its veracity?
I understand that many times we despair when there actually is a way out of some dark place in which we find ourselves. I know it's my job as a therapist to maintain hope for my clients when they can't feel it for themselves and to help them see a way through difficult times. However, I also know what hope in impossible dreams, half-baked plans, and uncontrollable events looks like too. It can be catastrophic to one's faith, sense of self, and trust in others when what is hoped for does not become reality. People quit believing in God when prayers aren't answered. They waste time on relationships that will never work. They put their hopes in a career they just don't have the aptitude for. Hope may be what propels us forward and enables us to persevere, but I don't think it can be used as an indicator for truth. In fact, sometimes, we may be closer at the truth when we are less than hopeful. Therapy isn't always about tears, deep dark secrets, and painful insights. There's also laughter, encouragement, and rejoicing in triumphs. However, it's often easier to help individuals make significant changes in their lives when they come to my office with a sober appraisal of their situation. When they float in on cloud nine, like an engaged couple completely infatuated with each other, they are often so filled with hope (and hormones) that they see no potential problems to address.
My faith doesn't offer a great deal of hope to me right now. I don't know what I think of the resurrection of Christ or of eternal life. I don't have a clear sense of that Christian hope my preacher described. However, I can't say I feel particularly hopeless either. What do you think? Should feelings of hopefulness or hopelessness be an indicator of the truth of our beliefs?