Friday, January 8, 2010

Plantinga: Longing and Hope

Just like Gene Forrester felt “stabs of hopeless joy” when he woke up in the mornings, I feel sweet tingling sensations tickling my heart when I long or yearn for something beautiful. And just as the book describes it, it’s such a profound feeling that can overwhelm and clothe one’s soul.

This longing, I came to understand finally, it’s a feeling that searches union with something so awe-inspiring that makes the soul tremble. It can never be fulfilled by mere earthly existences, but I dare to think that this sorrowful reality is what makes our yearning so beautiful and our reunion with God (which is the only thing that can truly satisfy), so unbearably graceful.

Longing is also described by Platinga as an ingredient of hope. He writes that “you can hope only for something you want, and if you really want it, you will long for it” (8). He also uses Lewis B. Smedes to express that hope is a combination of imagination, faith and desire. And indeed, imagination is required to be able to visualize a grand future, faith to be able to believe, and a strong and passionate desire to be able to strive and fight to make the dream come true. Together with the aid of scripture which provides wisdom and the guidance, one can finally accomplish what one hoped for.

Though as mentioned before, hope is a mix of imagination, faith and desire, there is also another essential component that completes it, and that is love. Hoping for only one’s own good is called “egocentrism” but with love and the power of the Holy Spirit, one is able to “look out toward the future of others” (12). Envisioning a big dream, embracing it, and working towards it will help one achieve the ultimate peace and harmony, and flourish wholly, or in other words, achieve “shalom”.

Although new fears seep in our lives and trouble us, as long as there is hope in the heart, one can remain strong and be saved. As long as there is hope, nothing ever dies just yet. And hope is just like the rose which blooms in winter, or a gentle yet mighty, pure light shining on a black ocean of sin. I believe that our hope is Jesus Christ himself. Thus we must love him so much that nothing in our heart is wasted, we must hold on to this hope tight, believe it will bring salvation, and share it by evangelizing. As Andy Dufresne says in the "Shawshank redemption" movie, “Hope is a good thing”. And yes it is, a very good thing.

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