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Episode Summary

Miroslav Volf explores the darker side of hope.

Miroslav Volf investigates the darker side of hope, explaining what it means to “hope against hope” (Romans 4:18) and “hope in what we do not see” (Romans 8:25). He concludes with hope’s connection to patient endurance. This is the second of a two-part series on hope.

Show Notes

  • “Genuine hope remains alive when there is no good reason to expect something positive in the future."
  • “We hope in what we do not see.” (Romans 8:25)
  • Martin Luther on “hope not seen"
  • "For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:24-27)
  • Hope transfers a person “into the unknown, the hidden, and the dark shadow, so that he does not even know what he hopes for.” Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, 25:364
  • "Hope is open to the difference between how we imagined fulfillment and how it arrived, openness even to recognize in the actual fulfillment what we in fact have wanted all along."
  • "We are most in need of hope in threatening situations which we cannot control; but it is in those same situations that it is most difficult for us not to lose hope. That is where patience and endurance come in."
  • "Hope needs endurance and endurance needs hope. Or: Genuine endurance is marked by hope; and genuine hope is marked by endurance."
  • Jürgen Moltmann, from “On Patience”: “In my youth, I learned to know ‘the God of hope’ and loved the beginnings of a new life with new ideas. But in my old age I am learning to know ‘the God of patience’ and stay in my place in life. … Without endurance, hope turns superficial and evaporates when it meets first resistances. In hope we start something new, but only endurance helps us persevere. Only tenacious endurance makes hope sustainable.  We learn endurance only with the help of hope. On the other hand, when hope gets lost, endurance turns into passivity. Hope turns endurance into active passivity. In hope we affirm the pain that comes with endurance, and learn to tolerate it.” (Jürgen Moltmann, Über Geduld, Barmherzikeit und Solidarität (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2018)
  • Hope is for no-exit situations.

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