Hope is the Way
“Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
May 5, 2023, Words By: Trisha Welstad, Image By: Djedj
A year ago, a wise friend shared a profound insight to me: as we age, it becomes our responsibility to navigate the process of loss while still holding hope for the future. This statement deeply resonated with me, particularly when I observed older leaders I admired losing their sense of hope.
Since then, I have consistently reflected on how I respond to loss and how it shapes my perspective on the future. Additionally, it has caused me to reflect on the type of leader I aspire to be for those I guide as I continue to age and inevitably encounter further losses.
The hope my friend communicated was not a superficial or forced optimism, but rather a hope deeply rooted in belief, assurance, and trust in something yet to be fulfilled, and the one who would fulfill it. It is a multidimensional hope that encompasses the prospect of a better future embodied in the generations that will succeed us.
Processing loss can often feel overwhelming — whether through a sudden or slow physical death, or the loss of relationships, roles, plans, communities, or dreams. At times, I’ve been held captive by the pain, losing hope in the future.
John 14 reveals Jesus’ masterful ability to hold loss and hope together. As he comforts His disciples and calls them forward, he shares profound truths with them and speaks about what lies ahead. Employing the metaphor of preparing a home (14:2-3), a cultural norm for husbands to do for their brides, Jesus assures his disciples of their place with him in the future. Despite their doubts and questions, he consistently provides reassurance.
All of this hope-filled language of belief comes to them during Jesus’ last week with his disciples. He is preparing them (and himself) to metabolize his death and to see beyond the loss. The disciples are totally confused; they have no idea what’s coming. And on top of that, he warns that they will both betray him and deny him (John 13). The impending losses are indeed troubling.
But notice how much Jesus repeats himself here, emphasizing his identity so they will know and believe.
Do not be troubled.
Believe in me.
You know the way.
I am the way.
(I am) the truth.
(I am) the life.
You know me.
Believe in me.
Jesus is revealing himself very plainly to the disciples so that they will be response-able to process the greatest loss they will ever experience while still holding onto an authentic and grounded hope for what is to come.
I have felt loss steal my hope several times in life. Jesus’ words, as shared in John 14, challenge me to pause amidst confusion, anxiety, and grief. They invite me to respond with an unwavering belief in a future filled with genuine hope, a hope that is not false or forced, but one that stems from a deep trust in what is possible because of God’s loving identity, no matter the circumstances we face.