We hope. We don’t have to give up hope but sometimes our hopes have to change.

Mary probably hoped to marry Joseph, have some children and have a quiet life in Nazareth. That changed when the angel Gabriel shared the news with her about Jesus.  After that she may have hoped Joseph wouldn’t leave her or have her stoned. As Jesus grew she may have hoped he would grow up into a wise and respected rabbi or some other kind of leader. I’m sure she hoped he would outlive her by many years. As she saw the religious and political forces growing against him in his thirties, she probably hoped he would somehow change them or at least escape them.

In the first chapter of the Book of Acts we are told that the disciples were “gathered continually in prayer” waiting as Jesus had told them to. We are told that Mary was there. They weren’t even certain what they were awaiting but they prayed and waited. Mary may have hoped he would show up again in bodily form as he had between the resurrection and the ascension. He had said he would return.  Her hopes had to change as the days passed but I doubt that she ever gave up hoping. After all, she was the only one who REALLY knew what happened back there at the beginning and she went from being his mother to being his disciple.

Our hopes may have to change, too. I see this pattern in many hospice patients and I expect I will have it, too. When the diagnosis is new, we hope to be cured and get this behind us. When the doctor says there is no cure or the last treatment option hasn’t worked, we have to change our hopes. We can hope for a long and pain-free time with the illness or condition. We may then be told the disease is gaining on us. We can hope for good care and pain management. Our hope changes but we don’t have to give up hope. We can hope for a final healing as we die and step into our next life with God.

What hopes have you had to change in the past? What hopes do you have for 2015?