The Discipline of Hope (In the Midst of Overwhelming Odds)

I just found a wonderful article about what the author calls a "discipline of hope." We are often waiting in the wings of life, yearning for something behind the sunrise that we can't quite see.

This article from adds a profound perspective on that yearning that we keep like a buried treasure deep in our hearts, and here is an excerpt:

"This is one of the reasons I respect Tolkien so much. In spite of our modern cultural expectations that one must grow up in an idyllic setting, Tolkien demonstrated it is possible to have a dark childhood and yet still possess a remarkable and life-affirming imagination. Yet one must wonder, how could someone who had experienced such loss create an idyllic place like the Shire?

"I believe Tolkien’s Christian worldview made the difference. That worldview equipped him to have the discipline of hope. To borrow from the apostle Paul:

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5).

"I am convinced that one of Tolkien’s greatest gifts to his readers is not the myths of Numenor, the language of the elves, or the post-dinner song of the dwarves (as impressive as all these things may be). Rather, his greatest gift is an example of the discipline of hope in the midst of overwhelming odds."