Everything is exactly right: Replacing Hope with Faith

“Hope is a beggar.” —Jim Carrey

Take a moment and place yourself in a state of Hope. Think of something you wish for, something you would like to see happen. How do you feel?

Now take a moment to place yourself in a state of Faith. Think that everything around you is exactly as it should be for you to build toward what is next. How do you feel?

Hope says: “What’s happening now is not good enough.”

Faith tells you: “What’s happening now is exactly right.”

Hope is unfulfilled yearning. Faith is purposeful acceptance.

In Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, Jim Collins writes about the Stockdale Paradox. The name comes from Jim Stockdale, who survived eight years in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp. Admiral Stockdale made it home, but many didn’t. When asked, who didn’t make it back he replied, “Oh, that’s easy. The optimists.”

The ones who looked to hope to solve their problems, the people who did not face the brutal facts of their reality didn’t make it. Stockdale said:

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Hope sees only that which is unfulfilled. Faith accepts the now as leading to the best “what’s next.”

May you have a faith-filled day.


2 thoughts on “Everything is exactly right: Replacing Hope with Faith

  1. Glen Stoudt

    Well phrased … and curiously hopeful.What I immediately reflect on is how this is played out in the everyday average lives that many of us live … the Stockdale example, though powerful, lets many people off the hook by it’s extreme nature.  I’m going to work on some images of the everyday … maybe even some words of encouragement for my friends here in the wake of my retirement.  As always, thanks for priming the spiritual pump.G  The Rev. Dr. Glen StoudtMinister of Worship and Care

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Curiously hopeful! I like that. Another paradox.
      Yes, the Stockdale example is extreme,and, thank goodness, most of us can downgrade to apply the principle to less challenging endurance tests of our own lives.


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