By Joan Endicott
A father and his 4 children got on a crowded subway in New York City. The father took the one seat, which just became vacant and immediately rested his elbows on his knees and held his face in his hands, while the unattended children seemed to be on their own to move in and around other passengers. They stepped on toes and seemed unruly, especially to one particular passenger, who lodged his complaint to the inattentive dad. Nudging the father, the passenger said, “Hey mister, aren’t these your kids? Why aren’t you paying attention to them?” The subway dad slowly looked up with tear stained eyes and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry I haven’t been paying attention…we just came from the hospital and we lost their mother…”
For the majority of people we come in contact with on any given day, we know very little about what they’re really going through. Observing another’s life from our limited perspective is similar to seeing only the tip of an iceberg. The majority of what’s really going on is below the surface, so we have no idea what heartache and challenges others are facing.
We simply don’t know the rest of their story. In most cases we never will, which is why it’s important to offer kindness and compassion, regardless.
We may recognize the importance hope offers us personally, yet often we’re simply not tuned into that same need in those around us.
In his book Think on These Things, author John Maxwell writes, “The only difference between those who threw in the towel and quit and those who used their energy to rebuild and kept going is found in the word hope. What does hope do for humanity? Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens while the bitterness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. Hope brings the victory, when no one is winning. You don’t need a better environment. You just need more hope. It’s the one thing in your life you can’t do without!”
Hope: a feeling that something desirable is likely to happen
Everyone loves stories, which offer hope. Cinderella Man is one such story. James J. Braddock had a good life in the Roaring ‘20s, as a very successful professional boxer with a beautiful wife and three children he loved and was completely dedicated to.
In 1933, however, various events including a broken hand and the Great Depression changed all that. James, aka The Bulldog of Bergen, ends up going down to the docks to pick up a days work, whenever he can to get money for electricity, heat and food for his family. Though the family is threatened to be split up, his unwillingness for that to happen seems to strengthen his determination and resolve.
Jim finally gets a break, when given the opportunity to be a last-minute replacement fighter to go up against the No. 2 heavyweight in the world. Although Jim’s expected to merely show up, take a few hits and collect his paycheck, he ends up knocking out his opponent. To everyone’s surprise and delight, he continues winning – one victory after another. Not only does this allow him to provide for his family, it also offers a renewed hope among the discouraged and destitute.
That’s exactly why we all love for the underdog to come out as the hero – it just feels right. It gives everyone a sense of hope to cling to, saying and “If he can do it, so can I!”
These are the kind of stories we should be talking about – ones filled with hope, the overcoming of obstacles and determination to do the right thing no matter what.
In the last month I am sad to say I have heard of several people, from Junior High to adults who have died by suicide – this is an ultimate feeling of hopelessness.
The heartbreaking reality is that suicide is now the second leading cause of death among ages 10-34. The seriousness of this issue cannot be overstated. Although this is clearly an enormous concern, it seems few are actually talking about it. This isn’t one of those ignore it and it will go away issues. Please, please be aware of those around you, really look at them, listen to them, genuinely care and be a messenger of hope—true hope in Jesus Christ!
Whether feeling desperate to this degree or not, we never know the battle another person is facing. What we do know is that everyone needs encouragement, and everyone needs hope. If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have the ultimate hope and you and I get to be messengers to those who need Him. If you do not have the hope that only Christ can give, today is the day! John 3:16 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)
Everyone should know:
By 2010, depression was considered the #1 disability in the world.
The AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) site shares these alarming statistics from 2018:
- On average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day.
- 1.4 million Americans attempted suicide.
- 48,344 Americans died by suicide.
Having Opportunity (to) Provide Encouragement
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13
A portion of this is an excerpt from Joan’s book. Grab your FREE copy of Joan’s “I Get To!”® book at JoanEndicott.com or sign up for her FREE videos. Joan Endicott is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Author of “I Get To!”® founder of GIANT-Slayer Coaching and “WOW!” Women Owning Their Worth©. Her coaching reaches over 30 countries. Follow her on FB and IG–she posts encouraging words daily!