How do you spell hope?

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
Psalm 71:5sign-language-alphabet

I saw the long-haired, teenage girl standing among the other poor. Poor in what? In money. That’s all I knew for sure. Maybe rich in a million other ways. I hope so.

But her poverty stood out twice. Not just in her clothes, but in her voice. Or lack of one.

When I greeted her, she didn’t respond. Not everyone did. So what? I let it slide.

A few minutes later, I understood why.

She was deaf.

In her circle of friends (well, only one friend was really paying attention), she was signing. But something was odd about it. She was using very few word signs. She was mainly finger-spelling.

Can you imagine having to spell everything you want to say? Texting is trying enough. I’ve learned to say much less.

But what if every time you wanted to share an experience or have a conversation or ask a question, you had to do it all letter by letter, not word by word?

How many thoughts would go left unsaid?

And how many friends would you have at the end of a day?

And why, oh why, was this girl having to spell everything anyway? After 16 or 17 years, hadn’t someone been able to teach her sign language? Apparently not. It was probably another cost of being poor. Where could she go to learn? Who would take her there? How would she pay for it?

I wanted to cry. I was no longer curious; I was heart-broken. I had never even considered such complications for a deaf, poor girl.

How much more have I never considered?
The weight of possibilities can crush me.

I need something more.
I need hope.

Hope is what keeps me from despairing.
Hope is what tells me things will get better.
Hope is what encourages me to do what I can.

I spell hope: J-E-S-U-S.

My hope for the deaf girl is to know Jesus and his riches.
I will use my words to talk to Him about her.

I have hope.
I hope and pray she does, too.

21  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

22  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;

23  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

24  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
~ Lamentations 3

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Where do you find hope?

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