Hope for the Future
“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (Isaiah 42:6, 7).
Few can appreciate what it means to never have seen the light of day. In 2016, the US Census Bureau estimated that 2.8% of the population suffered “significant vision loss.” Simple tasks sighted people take for granted become daunting challenges for the blind.
In the following excerpt, Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, shares the joy she found despite her handicaps. She overcame tremendous physical obstacles through mental discipline and the help of loved ones. Keller’s optimism was born in the hope of a brighter future for the world. Her experiences remind us of what lies ahead, as the burdens that have accompanied sin are lifted in the Kingdom. She understood the benefits evil could bring when one rises to the challenge. This same principle is part of God’s plan for uplifting mankind.
The Kingdom will open the eyes of the blind and unstop deaf ears. This is often applied to opening the understanding of those blind to the truth and deaf to its message. But the physical healing of these infirmities will also be a source of great joy. What a blessing to reflect on the coming work of setting humanity free from the many prisons that hold them captive, both spiritually and physically.
Following are excerpts from the essay “Optimism,” by Helen Keller.
“Once I knew the depth where no hope was, and darkness lay on the face of all things. Then love came and set my soul free. Once I knew only darkness and stillness. Now I know hope and joy. Once I fretted and beat myself against the wall that shut me in. Now I rejoice in the consciousness that I can think, act, and attain heaven. My life was without past or future. … But a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living. Night fled before the day of thought, and love and joy and hope came up in a passion of obedience to knowledge. Can anyone who has escaped such captivity, who has felt the thrill and glory of freedom, be a pessimist?
“My early experience was thus a leap from bad to good. If I tried, I could not check the momentum of my first leap out of the dark. … With the first word I used intelligently, I learned to live, to think, to hope. Darkness cannot shut me in again. I have had a glimpse of the shore, and can now live by the hope of reaching it. … Only by contact with evil could I have learned to feel by contrast the beauty of truth and love and goodness. …
“I can say with conviction that the struggle which evil necessitates is one of the greatest blessings. It makes us strong, patient, helpful, men and women. It lets us into the soul of things and teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail. …
“As I stand in the sunshine of a sincere and earnest optimism, my imagination ‘paints yet more glorious triumphs on the cloud-curtain of the future.’ Out of the fierce struggle and turmoil of contending systems and powers I see a brighter spiritual era slowly emerge — an era in which there shall be no England, no France, no Germany, no America, no this people or that, but one family, the human race; one law, peace; one need, harmony; one means, labor; one taskmaster, God.”