“We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
The comparison between finite and infinite is really a huge part of our understanding of hope. Our circumstances are always finite, though some of them seem to ask us to endure what feels like forever.
Things like a positive covid test or a speeding ticket are disappointing for sure, but they have a very distinct measure of time. Things like a marriage that never seems to improve or a job that is draining becomes harder to remember the circumstance really does have a timeline this side of heaven. Everything that happens on earth is within the time frame of time and space. Nothing on earth is infinite. But when we get to circumstances such as the death of a loved one or a painful divorce, the weight of the heartache makes the trust in infinite hope seem foolish.
Choosing infinite hope is incredibly vulnerable. It beckons me to place all my eggs in one basket, does not have a back-up plan, trusts without answers, and risks being made a fool. But the reason Martin Luther King, Jr. could continue to move forward in his call to seek justice, despite so many set backs is because his hope was placed in the only thing that is infinite.
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them – he remains faithful forever.”
Our hope cannot be placed in the changing of circumstances. We place our infinite hope in the Author of hope and have faith the Author of hope knows of our finite circumstances.
The reality - choosing infinite hope in the face of life altering sadness is not easy. Choosing infinite hope in the face of shattered dreams feels insurmountable. Choosing infinite hope in the midst of even life’s small inconveniences is not natural. But the more we lean into the truth that infinite hope is available to us, the easier it is to accept finite disappointments.
As with anything we are called to – God does not call us to have infinite hope alone. We need others who stand in the gaps and remind us that the finite circumstances are just that – finite. We need others who are willing to be a tangible reminder we are not alone in our disappointment. We need others who allow us to feel the weight of the disappointment and remind us of the infinite hope we have in Jesus.