Bob Tamasy: Finding Real Hope In A ‘Hope-So’ World

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
I’ve always enjoyed music, although I only sing so-low (that people can’t hear me), and the only instruments I’ve ever played were the drums, in high school and college. (I still play the steering wheel if I hear something with a good beat while I’m driving, but I don’t think that counts.)

Anyway, words of familiar songs often come to mind, even simple ones that carry a good message. One that’s been running through my mind of late is “High Hopes,” a tune from the 1959 film, “A Hole in the Head,” that starred Frank Sinatra. It tells about a “little old ant” trying to move a rubber tree plant and a “silly old ram” trying to punch a hole in a dam. Despite daunting tasks, the song says, they had “high hopes.

Some people suggest another song, “What the World Needs Now is Love,” the tune by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, but given the chaotic, confused times in which we live, I wonder if what we need even more is “High Hopes.” 

A couple of weeks into the new year, we’re still covered with the barrage of negativity. If not for bad news, it seems, there’d be no news at all. I hear dozens of folks in a New England town have already collapsed into a heap of hopeless despair. Things are so bad, in the next rendition of Disney’s “Snow White,” the seven dwarfs will probably sing, “I hope, I hope….”

Unfortunately, high hopes don’t usually supply real reasons for being hopeful. Hope in this life is as reliable as tomorrow’s weather report. The best it can provide is “hope-so”: “Will the United States ever truly be ‘united’ again? Hope so.” “Can life become less stressful? Hope so.” “Are there any real prospects for peace in this world? Hope so.” “Can anyone actually find true love on ‘The Bachelor’? Hope so.”

This desire for hope is often more pragmatic than philosophical. Imagine living in poverty, whether in the inner city or a place like Appalachia, with no prospects of change. How about feeling trapped in a loveless marriage, convinced the old spark will never rekindle. Or lying in a bed, ravaged by a terminal disease, anticipating a future that might not extend beyond tomorrow morning. In such circumstances, even a tiny ray of hope could provide palpable reason to persevere. 

But where can we find hope? They don’t stock it on department store shelves or at mall kiosks. Amazon sells lots of things, but not hope. History’s demonstrated we can’t find lasting hope in politics, regardless of our ideology. Science helps us understand “what” and “how,” but has little to say about “why.” Materialism’s many promises tend to be short-lived and empty. Entertainment distracts us momentarily, but can’t release us from uncomfortable realities. Even religion, with its rites, rules and rituals, too often leaves us feeling perplexed and uninspired. 

Does this mean there’s no hope for finding real hope? 

There is one source, and it’s been available for thousands of years, although many people have chosen to ignore it. To paraphrase yet another song of days gone by, they’re looking for hope in all the wrong places. 

Whenever I feel deficient in hope, I turn to the Bible. It shows God fully understands the human need for hope. Proverbs 13:12 observes, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Feelings of hopelessness can debilitate us physically, emotionally and spiritually, but hopes fulfilled reinvigorate. Proverbs 13:19 notes, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul….” 

To satisfy our yearning for hope, the Scriptures point us to a daily, growing relationship with God. The Old Testament’s book of Lamentations assures, "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord" (Lamentations 3:25). This isn’t “hope-so”; it’s unwavering certainty.

Another meaningful verse was penned by the apostle Paul, addressing followers of Jesus Christ in Rome: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Drawing from his own experience, he told the growing throng of believers in that sprawling city that true hope anchors in everyday faith in the Lord.

Faith – and hope – must be tried and proven. When we place our trust in something, even Jesus, time and perspective reveal whether we were banking on “hope so,” or genuine hope we can cling to with confident assurance. 

The ultimate test is the day when life inevitably draws to a close and we must confront the reality of what comes next. Paul referred to this when he wrote to believers in the church of ancient Philippi, “according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).

I “hope” that as we continue our march into this new year, you won’t be settling for hope-so when you can experience the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) of Jesus Christ alone.


Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog,, or his website (now being completed), He can be emailed at

Youth Explosion Is March 3

Perfecting Love Ministry will host the Youth Explosion on Saturday, March 3, at 6 p.m. at the Kingdom Center at 740 MLK Blvd.  The Youth Explosion gospel program will feature a night of praise and worship for the youth in the Chattanooga area. Live performances by local talent features:  Gospel Rappers: Quantell (Phat Pudda) Lindsey, TruSaint, and Tru Mob Gospel ... (click for more)

Mitch McClure Speaks On "Show Me What You Really Believe" Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, 'Show Me What You Really Believe'  in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday. This sermon is part of a sermon series titled 'Alive and Thriving, Not Just Surviving.'  This series focuses attention to the need of the church to be alive and thriving.  Pastor McClure will lead the church ... (click for more)

Cachet Peterson, 21, Killed, Tiana Linares, 24, Injured, In Drive-by Shooting Early Sunday Morning On Chestnut Street

Cachet Peterson, 21, was killed and Tiana Linares, 24, was injured in a drive-by shooting on Chestnut Street early Sunday morning. The Chattanooga Police Department responded to a shooting call at 1:27 a.m. in the 1800 block of Chestnut Street .  Upon arrival, officers located the two female victims in a vehicle suffering from gunshot wounds. HCEMS responded to the ... (click for more)

Woman Killed At Foot Of Lookout Mountain After Truck Loses Brakes

A woman was killed at the foot of Lookout Mountain on Saturday morning after her car was struck by a truck that had lost its brakes coming down the mountain. The victim was identified as Mallory Baldschun. A child in her Toyota Tacoma had minor injuries, police said. The driver of the International Prostar truck, James Wilson, also had minor injuries. Two other vehicles ... (click for more)

Six Things We Can Do About Mass Shootings - And Response

All politics aside, the recent shooting in Florida, and every other shooting in a public place, is a senseless and, possibly, preventable tragedy. It is absurd that we can’t gather in a free society without the fear of some nut job or terrorist using us as targets.   And then the cries of “do something!” from every quarter. But, other than the obvious attempt by agenda-pushers ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s Time To ‘Prepare’

On Friday morning, this after a crazed human being killed 17 innocent children and adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, I sat in a room with Sheriff Jim Hammond and members of his command staff and asked what everyone us want to know: “What do we do?” Gino Bennett, the sage guiding force, sat beside me and he told the room, “The time to ‘prevent’ is over ... (click for more)