Holding on to Hope

Our nation is set to welcome Donald Trump as President tomorrow, and everything in me mourns- not because I fear him but because he’s become a catalyst to unleash the ugliness within.

I felt concussed most of November trying to sort through what had happened. I felt betrayed by those who share my faith, scared for those whose well-being and lives were being  threatened because they were seen and labeled as outsiders. I was despairing and felt hopeless that a nation that boasts of progress is still so backwards.

I can no longer look at people the same way. Now when I see a white person, I wonder what they think of me, what they see. Do you see me as a person, a fellow citizen, or do you see me as a threat? Does my very existence, my presence in the neighborhood we share, bother you? And behind all the doubts, all I want to know is: Are you with me or against me?

***

I watched Obama’s farewell speech the only way I knew I could- alone with a box of tissues and a cup of hot tea. I was expecting to be inspired, to hear him call us to justice, to get me riled up and ready to face what’s to come. But his speech wasn’t a fiery sermon. It didn’t get me on my feet shouting hallelujahs and amens. Instead it was a heartfelt reflection of where we are and how we can move forward from here, and though it was inspiring, it made me wonder if having hope in people is too naive.

For most of my life, I trusted what my teachers, doctors, and parents told me. They were the authority figures in my life, who I assumed always knew the right answer, the right way, the right truths. But life showed me that adults are human, that ignorance blinds, and that power can be used for evil. It seemed wiser as I got older to question everything, to keep my guards up and even fists up just in case the other side caught me unaware and knocked the air out of me.

So being hopeful turned foolish to me, and since November I’ve swung mostly toward anger and disgust, fear and cynicism. It seemed pointless to put my faith in the idea of “our” nation, “our” people anymore. I settled into cynicism, and slowly it hardened me, threatening to kill any inkling of hope I might have had left. Cynicism made me want to give up and give in, to fall in line head down and follow the leader for the next four years or (God forbid) more.

But then Obama gave his farewell. Though I was cynical at first, the hope in his words lingered in my heart for days, and it wouldn’t let go of me. It took root and began to soften what cynicism had calcified. 

***

The words of the prophets and psalmists comfort and inspire me the most these days. They cried out to the Lord for deliverance, for righteousness and justice to prevail, for rescue to come, and I think about the years, decades, and generations that passed with the Israelites not receiving the answer to their prayers. I think about their lament, their anger and grief, and I can feel their ache. I understand it more now. Nothing new is happening today that hasn’t happened before in history. So we look back and see all those who came before us both in our country and in our faith legacy. We read their stories, soak in their spirit of grit, and become empowered to persevere, to stand up, to sacrifice. 

One day, evil will lose and good will win even if all hell breaks loose today. One day, rescue will come. One day, every knee will bow to the One who is a refuge for the oppressed and a stronghold for the weak. One day, justice will be for all people. My hope isn’t in us. My hope is in that one day that is promised to come.

Grace Cho

Grace Cho

Writer at Grace P. Cho
Grace P. Cho is a writer, wife, and mama to two littles. She writes and is the managing editor for The Mudroom and GraceTable as well as a contributor for Inheritance Magazine and A Moment to Breathe. Her favorites include walking alongside others via mentoring and editing, speaking truth through story, sharing meals and lives at the table, coffee of any kind, and desert landscapes. You can follow her on her blog at www.gracepcho.com and on Instagram.
Grace Cho

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  • Thank you for pointing us back to the ONLY place where we can find hope. I know I’ve been looking for it in places that will only disappoint. Beautiful words, Grace.

    • Glad we can do this for each other!

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  • Carolina

    This hit me good. I’ve written about this very thing so much. It’s my best defense, but then you said this… “One day, evil will lose and good will win even if all hell breaks loose today.” And Amen!

  • Rea

    I love this. Right now I need constant reminders not to let cynicism win, not to let my disappointment and fear bring out the ugliness within me.

    • I hear you. We need to keep reminding each other. We need to keep finding beauty, creating beauty and link arms so we can carry each other.

  • This is so beautiful, Grace.

  • Bev Murrill

    I share your disgust, but I also have lived long enough to know that we can’t put our trust in even fellow Christians, let alone the government. Hang in there, whatever comes, and ‘whatever’ will come and we will feel all the same emotions, but through it all, God works in and through us, and His Kingdom will shine in comparison.. which is always the way it’s meant to be.

  • Janet from FL

    I so relate to your post. I loved President Obama’s farewell speech. His fruit of the Spirit were shining — love, joy, peace, patience, faith, humility, self-control. He has been an awesome President and role model. Although I fear what is coming the next 4 years, I am moving forward in my family, my church, my faith. I can’t give the new President power over my life. I have switched to a church service with a black preacher, and he is focused on love and grace… I am learning from him. This service also sings hymns, which I am finding healing, quieting my fears/anger, and bringing hope.

  • I am also trying to keep looking for hope, despite so much darkness! Thanks for sharing!