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November 4, 2009

 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. " Jeremaia 29:11


President Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America a year ago to this day today as the first African American President of the United States. He ran his campaign with the platform of Hope and Change. Hope for the better America and the better world. His message of hope resonated with the entire world very well. In fact, his candidacy as well as his background embodied the possibility of hope which made his message even more appealing and powerful.

After two years of fierce campaigning, his message worked! He got elected overwhelmingly and became President of the free world just at the age of forty seven. His election victory literally galvanized the entire world. Every single country in Africa celebrated the result in a way never seen in the land of Africa before for a political election. Asia, Europe and beyond were ecstatic. Young, old, rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, everyone was totally swooped away by the excitement of this victory. Even my then five and half year old son was cheering for the "Brown guy", as he used to call him. On the election night, my son had to go to bed during the election returns and asked me to post the name of the winner on his bedroom door so he could be able to find out the first thing in the morning if his brown candidate won. I did as I was asked. For sure, at 7:00AM in the morning, he got the news and  celebrated his own way.

I could not believe that just one man, one election was able to vibrate the whole world in such unprecedented way. Everyone knew that his victory would be a historical one but no one predicted this much excitement and response from the world.

I agree it was a huge victory for an underdog, young and charismatic African American candidate to challenge and defeat the "well oiled", well funded, well connected, political machine of the American political establishment. Without getting into the political aspect of whether it was good or bad to elect him as a president, I thought a lot about his victory. Why did everyone respond in such profound and personal way for his victory? What is it unlike many other political victories this one was able to excite and galvanize the whole world the way it did?

This is why I think:

There are many good reasons why the world was very excited for Obama’s election victory such as: identifying oneself with the candidate, like my boy did, identifying oneself with his campaign messages, having the first African American president in American history which is huge on its own and some other reasons. But in addition to these reasons, from my view point, I also observed that his victory touched two  subtle yet powerful significant core elements as well. The first one is,  his election victory touched the very core of the possibility of hope for millions across the entire world. It is not news that deep seated hopelessness and many uncertainties exit everywhere in the world. No individual in the world, regardless of race, class, or financial status is immune from this. Since Obama eloquently spoke and campaigned so much about the possibility of hope and his own personal story and candidacy also shattered so much odds, I believe his victory awoke the hopes and dreams of millions all over the world. His slogan of "Yes we can" spoke to peoples' aspiration and ambition to mean "Yes I can". Yes it is possible to win, whatever the challenge is. His victory became the lens where many saw their own possibilities in life which in the end gave them a sense of hope like never before. I think, this is one of the main reason why a year ago today, the world responded for his victory by crying, and showing all those unbelievable emotional responses. I also believe, the second underlying reason is, this overwhelming sense of feeling hopeful blured the line between reality and the idea of "Obama hope" for many, as if he would swing a magic wand and all the bad realities of life would just disapear. As if he is "the one" to take away the ills of the world.  It followed Obama all the way to the Oval office and everyone wanted to cash the "promissory check" of Obama's hope and change right away.  

We re-winded one year back. Now, let’s fast-forward one year from the Election day and it brings us to today. How is the world responding to the election victory today? Again, departing myself from different political world views, it is easy to observe that not all those that were so excited a year ago today are now as excited as they used to be. Beside many of the good things we hear as a result of his great leadership, we also hear that his approval rating in the U.S keeps on coming down every month. His supporters in the U.S and other countries are grumbling that he has not fulfilled his campaign promises on this and on that matter. Some say they are feeling "buyer’s remorse" because they voted for him.  In fact, some who were chanting "Change!" Change!" before the election are now saying "Change it back!” after some changes took place. The strong emotional connection some expressed with candidate Obama do not seem to have it with President Obama now. That sense of strong optimism that the world felt last year is not fully here now. America and the world are moving on just like before Obama took office. The same frustrations, the same sense of hopelessness, the same sense of feeling defeated still looms over our world. hmm...

What happened to all the hope that was on the air a year ago?

Well, the answer is simple.

Reality starts kicking in.

Hope is not supposed to be gotten from any human being. If we put our hope in an individual, a government or anything else other than God, we will be disappointed for sure. Hope is supposed to be sought and found from the source of the real Hope giver. That is God though our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is our only true Hope. The Hope that He gives is not like the hope politicians promise. His hope fills us with peace, contentment, assurance always. It does not fluctuate. It is not conditional. It is assured.

Do you have a sense of feeling defeated, a sense of hopelessness? Do you get disappointed again and again to the point of feeling let down? Well that is probably because you are putting it in wrong place. Put your hope in God. He will give you an assured Hope that lasts for eternity. He will not let you down, you will not be disappointed. Invite him into your heart and you will experience hopefulness, peace and contentment like never before.

Hope in God is not just wishful thinking, denying the reality of life nor just blind optimism.

Hope is, "H.O.P.E -> Holding On Praying Expectantly". That we do not have the control, but God does and we put all our hopes on Him and Him alone. We put our situations in His hands and  relay and relax.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." Psalm 62:5

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

My hope rests on Him alone!

Where does your hope come from?

Give Him a chance and you will never be disappointed.

God bless,