As the world focuses on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Jeraldine Rubin knows the angst felt by family members of the 239 passengers and crew onboard. In 1957, a plane carrying her brother, airman John E. Bryant, disappeared while flying from California to Japan. It’s never been found. When she heard about MH370, “all these bells started ringing again. It just took me back.”
How has the retired school teacher handled the pain of not knowing her brother’s fate? “Constantly hope, hope, hope, hope. That was what really kept everything together,” she says. What would she suggest to families of the missing MH370 passengers? “We should continue to hope and expect things to work out as the Lord intended them to be.”
Hope is a powerful phenomenon. A mouse dropped in a pot of water will swim for a few minutes before it gives up and drowns. But if it is rescued, it will tread water for more than 20 hours the next time. Children rescued from Nazi concentration camps were clothed and fed, but they still could not sleep. A child psychologist hit on the solution: each child was given a slice of bread to take to bed. Not to eat, just to hold. With assurance that there would be food for the next day, they could sleep.
I have experienced the power of hope personally in recent days. In Texas, we are caught in one of the worst droughts in history. However, an El Niño may be coming. This weather phenomenon would likely lead to increased rain on the West Coast and in Texas. Now I can watch cloudless days with greater hope. A friend who works as a financial analyst predicted a 10 percent market correction this year. Now when I watch stocks decline, I don’t worry as much, because I have hope they will rebound.
What is your greatest fear for the future? Would you choose right now to surrender it to your Father, placing your hope in his omniscient, omnipotent love for you?
Here’s what will result: “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 40:30-31). Now you can “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). No matter what happens, you will experience an “endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). So “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
Jeraldine Rubin proves that in a hopeless world filled with despair, hope is a powerful witness. The late Presbyterian lay minister Fred Rogers (“Mr. Rogers” of television fame) once quoted an anonymous scrawling on the bulletin board of the great Notre Dame cathedral in Paris: “The world tomorrow will belong to those who brought it the greatest hope.”