How to Hold on to Hope When the Odds Are Against You

Discover the power of faith combined with hope when you think there’s no way forward.

Posted in , Oct 19, 2021

Men's US Hockey team at 1980 Olympics

Who can forget the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid? The United States men’s hockey team, made up of unpaid college kids, beat the heavily favored Soviet Union’s team, made up of professionals labeled as amateurs, in a thrilling final 4-3. 

Americans were glued to their seats, watching on TV and cheering the young men who were facing the greatest challenge of their playing careers. The win is still considered one of the biggest upsets in sports history and garnered the team a gold medal. It was called the “Miracle on Ice.”

Who doesn’t love an underdog? In some ways, it may remind us of ourselves. When we think of an underdog in the Bible, David against Goliath comes to mind. But another favorite is the four lepers. The Arameans, enemies of Israel, lay siege to the capital of Samaria, causing a famine. The people in the city had no food and no way out. But the four lepers were outcasts and had to live outside the city gates in accordance to the religious law.

As they sat at the entrance of the city, they decided to act in faith and walk with hope into the enemy camp where they would either be fed or killed. When the lepers arrived, no one was there. The Arameans mistakenly thought they had heard armies hired by the King of Israel coming to attack them. So they quickly fled, abandoning everything. 

You can imagine the shock and surprise on the faces of the lepers. The men walked through the empty camp and began to eat, drink wine and take the silver and gold. But they realized the resources and good news weren’t just for them. So they returned to the city and told the king what had happened. Due to their faith and hope, others were also blessed.  

Faith dares us to believe what we can’t easily see. It empowers us to trust that God will decide our outcome. Faith and hope together help us get through the most difficult circumstances and troubles in life. Bishop Michael Curry in his book, Love Is The Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times, writes, “Hope comes along, and puts wind in our sails of faith. Hope is the energy that keeps us going when the gravity of reality would otherwise defeat us.” 

When we face huge odds in life, doing nothing is not the answer. Why not let our faith and hope help us step into the unknown, trusting the outcome to God? This is what the four lepers did. When our backs are against the wall, we can either give up or act with courage. When we act with faith and hope, we discover God’s goodness on the other side. We learn that all along God was working on our behalf and making a way where we thought there was none.

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