the hope of the godless shall perish

“Can papyrus grow where there is no marsh? Can reeds flourish where there is no water?

While yet in flower and not cut down, they wither before any other plant.

Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish.

His confidence is severed, and his trust is a spider’s web.

He leans against his house, but it does not stand; he lays hold of it, but it does not endure.

He is a lush plant before the sun, and his shoots spread over his garden.

His roots entwine the stone heap; he looks upon a house of stones.

If he is destroyed from his place, then it will deny him, saying, ‘I have never seen you.’

Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the soil others will spring.

Ask, and it shall be given

Matthew 7:7,8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened

Lord, I know that the naysayers will say of me that I ask, but not with my heart; that I seek, but without effort; and that my knocking is feigned. But you know my heart, O Lord, refute those who speak ill of me, who think in their hearts to mock and deride my pleas. Here is your promise, my God, here is your word. I ask, help my unbelief, O Lord. Let yourself be known to me so that when I seek you may be found and I may believe. And care for my soul which grows faint with knocking and revive my hope in you. Your word cannot be broken, for you are Truth. Grant me to know you and to dwell in your presence forevermore.

He is a chosen vessel

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel:

What am I, O Lord? Could I too be a vessel in your hands? Will you not heal my blindness, that I might see also? For the world around me is shrouded in darkness, and I can no longer see your countenance shining down upon me. Send your messenger to me, with words of comfort and joy, that I might know that I am cherished in your eyes once again. Will you toss aside one who longs to be in your presence, as a despised thing for which you have no use but to be thrown in the fire? Take my hand, O Lord, and guide me to your city of everlasting promise.

God answers

Psalm 3:4 I cry unto Jehovah with my voice, And he answereth me out of his holy hill. Selah

Hear my cry O God, and answer me when you hear my voice. Do not shut up your heavens like brass doors, but throw open the gates of your mercy and send forth your comforting word at the sound of my tears. Selah

And yet I wait

And yet I wait for the Sun to rise
To bestow its rays of warmth and light
and dispel the cold darkness that
closes in upon me from every direction
I thought that the truth would free me
Instead it has replaced the ropes
which bound me with chains forged
of cold and biting iron, a weight
not easily born by a spirit already
crushed by the heaviness of despair
Perhaps the Sun will come soon
and the keys to these shackles will
be revealed by that blessed light
Come, might Sun, come, and set
your child free from the bondages
that bind him to this cold sinking fate.

beside an old wood fence

One happy Autumn day
not so cold to see one’s breath,
but cool enough to ease
the swelter of a Summer’s sun
with hints of more to come
I waited by an old wood fence
that marked her land from mine
hoping to catch a glimpse of her
if she happened to pass by
A lonely figure I must have made
should one have seen me there
A whispered prayer my only friend
while waiting for my secret love
just a glimpse while passing by
I do not know how long I stood
beside that path of hardened clay
But light did grow from dim lit dawn
To soft dull grey of clouded day
yet still I waited for some sign
that she would come this way
but as the day slipped further by
this anxiety did start to loom within
that she would not come by today
no matter how much time I stood
perhaps an illness made her stay
or other business of the day
could it be she found her way
into another lover’s arms
though I could hardly call myself
her lover outside my dreams
and as these fears of mine did build
their corresponding hopes did fade
until at last I thought to turn
to start that long and lonely walk
along the path that led to home
when all at once I heard a sound
of hooves that thundered on the ground
and suddenly her carriage breached
a crest where the land does gently rise
and like a child’s youthful play
came tumbling down the hill to me
the coachman’s voice did raise a shout
as it hurriedly did roll on past
and for but the briefest moment
I caught a sight of her seated there
before her carriage raced onward still
to catch the next horizon
Did I see her glance at me?
the slightest turn of her luscious face?
with this my heart began to race
caught up in the heady rush of hope
that once again she saw my faith
and would one day return this love
that drove me daily to my place
to wait beside an old wood fence
that marked her land from mine.

Hope and Unbelief

What is hope? It seems to me that hope is the expectation that something, usually positive, is going to occur, but without demonstrable proof that it will come to pass. Obviously, we do not hope for what has already happened, and almost as clearly we do not hope for what we are convinced will happen. No one hopes that a stone will fall when it is released, even though there is no logical necessity involved when it does fall under normal gravitationally bound circumstances. But then, what serves as the basis for hope?

Certainly human nature demands it, hope seeming to be an almost universal necessity of the subjective conditions of human existence. But is that a basis for hope, or merely a description of why we need it. It still remains to be discovered how we can hope. I think, ultimately, it does offer a sort of explanation, however. In the final analysis, we choose any number of reasons for hope, but we almost invariably do choose to hope, not because we are compelled by one of these reasons, but by the sheer tenacity of human existence to will itself a better life, or at least the idea of a better life. The loss of this will seems to be frequently be accompanied by a corresponding loss for the will to continue that existence itself.

I have been struggling with this matter for some time now, as the belief system that supplied the basis for my own hopes has continued to deteriorate despite my objections to this fact. An insidious and creeping cynicism and despair has been moving in, acting as a solvent for whatever basis I previously held for grounds for hope. And yet I continue to hope, although I no longer have the same hopes. They are much more modest now, and perhaps admittedly irrational and groundless even in the most superficial analysis of them. I merely hope that there is a basis for hope, that I can find some point of solid ground upon which to stand and on which to leverage the rest of my life.

I have been reduced to this through a mixture of temperament and circumstances, neither of which are fully under my control. It is near precisely the same sentiment the Dostoevsky had Ivan express in the passage I had earlier quoted from the Brothers Karamazov. I have no rational grounds for hope, love, joy, and a whole host of human responses to the world that seem baseless but are nevertheless necessary for us to function effectively in our environment. I have the hope of a skeptic, the same hope expressed by Sextus Empericus in his Outlines of Pyrrhonism: “the Sceptics keep on searching”. This in itself expresses a sort of hope, for one would not search for what cannot be found, and so the search is an act of hope, that something can be found, that something eventually will be found.

This is my hope, but like the skeptic, I have no basis for it other than the tenacity of the human will to almost perversely persevere in the face of all doubt and dissuasion. I cannot give up on hope because I cannot give up on living. I am driven to live, and so I am compelled to believe, however irrationally, that life is somehow worth the effort. And if it does not seem to be so now, than I must at least believe that it holds the potential to do so in the future. It is the nature of the beast, a drive that has been pounded into us at an almost sub-cellular level through eons of evolutionary force. And so I hope, not just in the face of unbelief, but even in the midst of unbelief’s overwhelming embrace of rationality.

And this is why I do not believe humans are rational creatures. There is no evidence for it. We again and again demonstrate the fact that we are not driven or even governed by reason. We are fundamentally irrational, although we are very clever in applying reason to our irrationality, even at fooling ourselves into thinking that this application of rationality is what moves us and defines us. But it is not so. I have been driven in my pursuit of Truth and reason to the acknowledgment and acceptance of this point. I am not rational, although I am capable of using reason, it is insufficient to either define my existence or sustain it in the face of my subjective reality. And so I bow to these twin forces of hope and unbelief, so characteristic of the human condition that they may as well be called the two sides of the human coin. I am plagued with doubt and unbelief, and yet I persist in hope, even if that hope is the barest thread of belief that there is something to hope in.