Everyone hopes in something, but hope in anything but God will fail us

January 18, 2022 • 4 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 177
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Therefore, he whose hope is fixed upon the things of this world is rightly compared to the man in the Gospel who built his house upon the sand and beheld it beaten down by the rain and winds; while he whose hope is fixed upon the things of Heaven is like the man whose house was built upon a rock, and which stood unshaken amidst the storms. [St. Matt. vii.]

“Cursed be he,” cries out the prophet, “that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like tamaric in the desert, and he shall not see when good shall come; but he shall dwell in dryness in the desert, in a salt land and not inhabited. But blessed be the man that trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence; and he shall be as a tree that is planted by the waters, that spreadeth out its roots towards moisture; and it shall not fear when the heat cometh. And the leaf thereof shall be green, and in the time of drought it shall not be solicitous, neither shall it cease at any time to bring forth fruit.” [Jer. xvii. 5-9.]

Can there be any misery compared to life without hope? To live without hope is to live without God. If this support be taken from man, what remains for him?

There is no nation, however barbarous, that has not some knowledge of a god whom they worship and in whom they hope. When Moses was absent for a short time from the children of Israel they imagined themselves without God, and in their ignorance they besought Aaron to give them a god, for they feared to continue without one.

Thus we see that human nature, though ignorant of the true God, instinctively acknowledges the necessity of a Supreme Being, and, recognizing its own weakness, turns to God for assistance and support.

As the ivy clings to a tree, and as woman naturally depends on man, so human nature in its weakness and poverty seeks the protection and assistance of God.

How deplorable, then, is the condition of those who deprive themselves of His support! Whither can they turn for comfort in trials, for relief in sickness? Of whom will they seek protection in dangers, counsel in difficulties?

If the body cannot live without the soul, how can the soul live without God? If hope, as we have said, be the anchor of life, how can we trust ourselves without it on the stormy sea of the world? If hope be our buckler, how can we go without it into the midst of our foes?

What we have said must sufficiently show us that an infinite distance separates the hope of the just from that of the wicked. The hope of the just man is in God, and that of the wicked is in the staff of Egypt, which breaks and wounds the hand which sought its support. For when man leans upon such a reed God wishes to make him sensible of his error by the sorrow and shame of his fall.

We have an example of this in God’s treatment of Moab: “Because thou hast trusted in thy bulwarks, and in thy treasures, thou also shalt be taken: and Chamos [the god of the Moabites] shall go into captivity, his priests, and his princes together.” [Jer. xlviii. 7.] Consider what a support thaf is which brings ruin upon those who invoke it.

Behold, then, dear Christian, how great is this privilege of hope, which, though it appear one with the special providence of which we have been treating, differs from it, nevertheless, as the effect differs from the cause.

For though the hope of the just proceeds from several causes, such as the goodness of God, the truth of His promises, the merits of Christ, yet its principal foundation is this paternal providence. It is this which excites our hope; for who could fail in confidence knowing the fatherly care that God has for us all?

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