4 of 7: HOPE. Tonight is a hard night to write – there is a musical on TV and my focus is not where it is supposed to be right now. Sigh! Earlier, when I was outside, enjoying the warmth of the spa and watching the moon play peek-a-boo behind the clouds, the words were writing themselves in my head. For some reason, things are always much clearer for me under a tree, basking in the sun or (as it was tonight), sitting under a cloudy sky. When life turns topsey-turvey and the heart is torn between the choices of righteousness and the world, I tend to wander outside and look up. Hoping to see more clearly. Hoping to hear more clearly. Hoping to reach just a little higher…..
It is rumored between various diaries and jourals of the time, that President Lincoln used to walk the halls when big decisions weighed on his mind. As he wrestled with the decision to emancipate the slaves, I fear he must hae worn a hole in the rugs. I’m sure he had advisors on both sides telling him whatever decision he made would destroy the union,which at that time if you remember, was less than a 100 years old. A month before he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he went before Congress and stated,
“We know how to save the Union…we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave,…We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best HOPE of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”. ~Pres Abraham Lincoln, December 1, 1862.
150+ years later, the “last best HOPE of earth [mankind]” is a phrase that is tossed around often by new politicians and pundits, but these days its reference is the United States itself. As if we had any power at all to save the world…to save a group of people…or change a life. HOPE, in this case, has become a noun. It is no longer actively pursuing “the HOPE” that was given to the world (if you get the metaphor). HOPE that became a man. HOPE that was the perfect expression of God’s will on earth. The HOPE that was the foundation of this nation. That was the “last best HOPE of earth”.
I like to think that President Lincoln was referring to the real “last best HOPE of earth” as he wrote his address to Congress, but that is just me. Perhaps as the weight of the presidency leaned on him, he found a place to lean, and according to many sources, that is fairly accurate assessment. In any case, to me that “last best HOPE of earth” is still watching, still holding out His hand, still waiting to see what we will choose. It is still a verb. It is still HOPING that we will reach back and walk with Him “…on earth as it is in heaven…”