Giving Up Hopelessness for Lent

Conservatory at the MN Landscape Arboretum

“The Best Thing to Give Up for Lent . . . Hopelessness.” I read that line a few years ago and was touched by the wisdom of it.

This week,  as we watch the repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I’m in need of hope. Christians throughout the centuries have struggled in the painful journeys of life. Being a Christian has never been a promise that life will be easy. Our faith does not make us immune to tragedy, loss, painful experiences, children in trouble, illness or any of the other grief’s common to this life. What we have been promised is that God is actively working in our world. In Jesus, God came to overcome the world itself. Jesus said, ” In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Anne Lamott  often  writes about her pastor, Veronica.   *One day, Veronica  told the story of a little girl overheard explaining to a friend what her pastor, grandfather does.    As the little girl understood his work, she replied,  “Every week he has to come and tell everyone in his church that God loves them, because they always forget again by the middle of the week.  So every Sunday he goes back to the church and he tells them again that God loves them.”

I need those continual reminders.  In our discouragement, fear and meanderings of spirit, being reminded that we are indeed loved by God,  is a source of hope for me.   I’m grateful for Jesus” who named our trials and tribulations as such,  but proclaimed a promise that in this world of strife and heartaches, he has “Overcome the world.”


*Anne Lamott column, December 19, 2004     Another version of this story is found in Lamott’s 2021 book  “Dusk, Night, Dawn” page 17.

Other  Devotions for Ash Wednesday through Easter came be found here.