Day 9: Hoping Against Hope

Hoping Against Hope © Jan L. Richardson (click image to enlarge)

Hoping against hope, he believed.
—Romans 4.18a

From a lectionary reading for Lent 2: Romans 4.13-25

Reflection for Friday, March 2 (Day 9 of Lent)

Rough Translations

Par’ elpida ep’ elpidi. —Romans 4.18a, Greek New Testament
(Literally, “Against hope with hope.”)

Hope nonetheless.
Hope despite.
Hope regardless.
Hope still.

Hope where we had ceased to hope.
Hope amid what threatens hope.
Hope with those who feed our hope.
Hope beyond what we had hoped.

Hope that draws us past our limits.
Hope that defies expectations.
Hope that questions what we have known.
Hope that makes a way where there is none.

Hope that takes us past our fear.
Hope that calls us into life.
Hope that holds us beyond death.
Hope that blesses those to come.

[To use the image “Hoping Against Hope,” please visit this page at Your use of helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!]

5 Responses to “Day 9: Hoping Against Hope”

  1. Mary Ann Sinclair Says:

    Jan, We have lived every line of this poem with our Theresa over the past two years. Today we are back home after moving her into the BEST adult family home we could find which is 2 1/2 hrs from our home. This is after over 20 refusals for placement in our area because of her mulitple needs. We understand “Hope that draws us beyond our limits.” and we are still standing!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Mary Ann, thank you so much for your words. Know that you and your family have been on my mind and in my prayers as you continue to journey with Theresa and to stand with her even across the physical distance. Blessings to you for living in hope and letting it draw you beyond your limits. May you find sustenance in every moment. Thank you again! I am always grateful for the gift of your words.

  2. marsh Says:

    was just told about this site it’s wonderful will be coming back again your very talented!!!! i was interested just by your name????? my daughter i adopted from india in 1987 is named alpana means (painted prayers) how sweet is that?????

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Oh! That’s wonderful! What a beautiful name. Thanks so much for visiting The Painted Prayerbook and for sharing your words here. I’m delighted to know this. Many blessings to you and Alpana!

  3. Gerard McCaffery Says:

    MercyFirst is a nonprofit agency in NY that works with children and youth, as well as their family, who are involved in foster care, juvenile justice and mental health systems. It is very challenging work. Some time back we adopted the tag line “Hope is Unstoppable” to describe the power that hope plays in our work. Last night at a special event we held, our honoree – a Sister of Mercy – read a part of your poem. It was very moving and very powerful. I am sure we will refer to it again and again with full attribution to you! Just saying thanks for writing this!

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