Little Signs of Hope

This morning I had Raisin Bran for breakfast. As I poured the contents from the cardboard box into my bowl, my hopes and dreams of finding those little nuggets of chewy goodness hidden amongst boring flakes of bran began to fade. Apparently, my bowl was completely devoid of raisins. I sloshed the flakes around glumly as I ate. With each new spoonful, I drew closer to the bottom of the bowl. Still no raisins in sight. I mumbled aloud to my mother, “There’s not a single raisin in my Raisin Bran.” The bran flakes were like sandpaper in my mouth. It wasn’t pleasant, but I pressed on. I needed to eat, raisins or no raisins. Then, finally, near the end, I found something. As my dad entered the kitchen, I championed my spoon with uncharacteristic zeal, raising it high and proclaiming, “Finally! I found my first raisin!” It was a joyous moment to be sure.

Now, being the strange and unusual person that I am, I immediately began drawing parallels between this exciting turn of events and other seemingly unrelated aspects of life. Specifically, I was reminded of a passage from Scripture I read the other night:

Romans 5: 3-5 – And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience, and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. And hope does not make us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.

Many times in life we’re called to persevere through trials and tribulations. Let’s call ’em the flakes of bran in the great, big bowl of life. They can be distasteful, coarse, gagging, uninspired, bland, or otherwise unpleasant. And yet, if we persevere, it we buck up and seek God’s help, our “afflictions” will yield hope in our lives. As I finished my Raisin Bran, I went on to find not only one raisin but two, and then a third! I hadn’t been able to see them through the bran, and indeed, I wouldn’t have seen them at all if I hadn’t persevered.

As I contemplate my future and the choices I must make, it seems overwhelming. The burden of life and its responsibilities, along with pressure from friends, parents, and other peers at times seems insurmountable. And yet, as I look around at how I’ve been blessed and all that I have, there are many reasons, big and small, to have hope.

For me, those three raisins, those three lumpy, dried up grapes sweetened with sugar, were little signs of hope. Something that simple was able to put a smile on my face. So I guess my message, if I have one, is that while life may seem irreversibly cold and gray at times, hope does spring eternal. Just make sure you don’t skip breakfast.

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