So there is this show called Downton Abbey, you may have heard of it. Well, if you haven't you're about to because it is one of my favourite shows by far and I am currently rewatching it. So in Downton Abbey there are a set of characters, a couple actually named Anna and John Bates. Now in season 3 these two are separated, John is accused of a crime he did not commit and is sentenced to life in prison and Anna is still working as a lady's maid in an aristocratic household. There is this one particular episode when Anna and John are not receiving each others letters, the guards at the prison are withholding them.
Now this continues on with no letters for a period of weeks and both of the Bates are starting to lose faith. They each assume that the other gave up, is moving on or just doesn't care.
But that is not true. And to skip to the end a little, they both realize the truth and by the end of the episode are reading each others letters long into the night. As they read these letters of love, they laugh and they cry and they are so relieved at last.
They're relieved of course because their hope was rewarded. They sat there week after week waiting for a letter that never came until almost too late but they still had hope.
That is a marvelous thing.
It can often be hard to be hopeful in the midst of fear, heartbreak and tragedy. Yet, that is exactly what we are called to do.
We are called to be hopeful, to be joyful in our hope, confident with the knowledge that God works all things to our benefit.
Yes, there will be tears, there will be doubts and sometimes we will let our worst selves win.
But we are not the sum of our failures, but the sum of God's Love for us. And once we fall we can only press forward. Behind us lies a chasm that we barely knew we jumped and before us lies a road. A road that will often times be painful, it won't always be rewarding and sometimes you will flat be told no.
But the nature of hope is the trust that at the end of that road we will find the great Yes, the magnificent reward and bliss that cannot be denied.
So go forward, hopeful into the night. Hopeful with the knowledge of Anna and John Bates that no matter what comes hope remains long into the night.