This article originally appeared in the October 10, 1969, issue of Christianity Today. It was posted June 15, 2015, to commemorate the death of Elisabeth Elliot.
Whenever we hear people say we were hoping…” we can be pretty certain that their hopes have been dashed. Whatever it was they looked for they did not get.
When Martin Luther King was killed, the hopes of a lot of people were dashed. They were hoping he would be their saviour. Others looked to Robert Kennedy with hope of a new era in America. When President Nixon was elected, the hopes of those who voted for Humphrey went down the drain. We were hoping…” they said.
Things happen in our lives that make us want to “pack in” on everything, as the English say. We work and plan and look forward to something and it all comes to nothing and we are tempted to say “What’s the use?” But perhaps we should take a careful look at some of our dashed hopes and try to remember what actually happened later. This isn’t always possible, for our memories are often short. But for years I have kept a sort of journal in which I put down things that seem worth remembering, and it has frequently amazed and cheered me to see the pattern of things past. Some of my hopes failed, and then there have been occasions when something far beyond my hopes took place. “To those who love God,” wrote Paul, “everything that happens fits into a pattern for good” (J. B. Phillips’s translation of Romans 8:28).
Sometimes the worst has to happen in order for the best to happen. We hold a high hope, we lose it, and to our utter surprise something infinitely better than we had hoped is given to us.
Two people ...1