Hope and “If” by Rudyard Kipling

Many years ago, I received a copy of this poem by Kipling as a gift at a graduation. Since then, I have looked for the poem almost annually to present to others who have reached a milestone in their lives and are moving forward into an unknown future. Here is the poem, and credit goes to http://www.etsy.com for this photo.

This poem does not mention God at all or what should be His place in the lives of the young person seeking to make his/her way in the world. I do not know about Kipling’s faith or lack thereof and it is not for me to judge Him. I’m simply stating that faith is not part of the poem, so perhaps a better choice for me to give as a verse or a gift would be a Scripture verse or two that would lead them to look to where their true help lies when times get tough.

You see, the poet Kipling gives rather sound advice but it does not have the foundation that it needs to make it completely useful. Yes, it’s good to trust yourself, but it’s better to trust God. If the things in life are broken, then it’s good to remember that God is there to help you pick up the pieces and build something new. God is the one who helps us to hold on when we think all is lost. And, finally, the King we need to walk with daily is Jesus and glean wisdom from His Word. Yes, the poem “If” is useful, but God’s Word is a sure foundation, one that is trustworthy and reliable, a way that we can be absolutely certain that no matter what kinds of troubles assault us, we have the Lord of all of the earth in our corner, encouraging us to battle once more and declare the victory that He has already given us. So, rather than have an “if” that depends on my human choices and weaknesses, I choose to have a certain hope in the Lord. I hope that is what your choice is, too, for it is only hope in God and His mercy, grace and love that will lead to the future that we all desire, eternity with Him.

Have a blessed day and may your life be filled with hope in the One who has always loved, helped and shielded you.

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