The Renewability of Hope (in Literature and Theology)

Hello, everyone—

Two weeks ago I was challenged to write a small piece discussing a particular theme in writing. Although it is briefer and less conversational than my typical blog post, this musing helped me greatly in furthering my understanding of hope—how it relates both to the Scriptures and to theme and genre in the realm of composition. As such, I couldn’t restrain myself from sharing it with you all. It’s not the most perfect of paragraphs, but I gained much from the experience of writing it, and it is my greatest hope (no pun intended…perhaps) that it will assist you as well. Happy reading!

The renewability of hope, as a theme in writing, can strongly reinforce the Christian worldview. Because of their flesh, humans are not immune to losing hope, especially if they place it in worldly objects and pursuits. However, if they hope in something, or Someone, eternal, humanity’s hopes can be renewed, no matter how depressed or far away they are from God. As God is the only eternal being, the Christian worldview is the only worldview through which mankind can constantly renew their hopes. Lamentations 3:18-22 (NASB) supports this principle: “So I say, ‘My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the LORD.’ Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.” Finding the finest written genre in which to express hope’s renewability, however, can be difficult. Nevertheless, the most promising genre for the theme seems to be tragicomedy. Tragicomedy, a mixture of tragedy and comedy, best reflect the patterns of life. Life is neither completely “blithe and bonny” [Much Ado about Nothing] nor wholly “rank and gross” [Hamlet]. As C.S. Lewis writes in The Screwtape Letters, life follows “the Law of Undulation,” which means that life is constantly shifting from “good” to “bad” circumstances, and vice versa. Similarly, humanity does not always have or lack hope. Instead, hope must constantly be renewed, and the only place this can occur is in the hand of Christ.

“And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, ‘We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.'” ~Ezra 10:2, NKJV


~Sarah Merly

February 6, 2018

Isaiah 53