Into the Unknown

Where do we find our hope and our confidence?

  • Saturday, November 7, 2020 11:35am
  • Opinion
Mike Ivaska

Mike Ivaska

My daughter is obsessed with a certain cartoon princess.

Well, queen, actually. It’s Elsa from the “Frozen” movies. Elsa sings the song, “Into the Unknown.” It’s all about adventure and excitement — venturing past the familiar into something new to which Elsa feels called. It’s a pretty good song. (I should know. I have to listen to it all the time in the car.) But it’s not an easy song to relate to right now. If there’s one thing it’s hard to feel excited about right now, it’s venturing “into the unknown.”

As I write this article, none of us know what the outcome of the presidential election will be. Some people are hoping for one outcome, some are hoping for another. I understand most people’s reasoning, whether I agree with them or not. But one thing noticeably absent from the emotions of everyone (on both sides of the aisle) is any sense of hope—not hope in the sense of “I hope this happens” or “I hope that doesn’t happen,” but hope in the sense of anticipation and confidence in the future.

Proverbs 17:22 in the Hebrew Bible reads, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

And how can our spirits not feel a bit crushed these days? The world we fear (whoever we are) threatens us from the other side, and the world we love (whoever we are) appears fragile and under siege. This is true of people on all sides of the conflicts of our day, and it’s the root of the ferocity in our fighting. We are living in an existential moment, and all of us feel the threat of destruction breathing down our necks. This is true whether our cause is just or not (by whatever standard one judges such things), and whether our understanding of current events is accurate or not (which depends, of course, on who you ask).

By the time anyone reads this, it’s possible, though not certain, we will know the results of the election. If so, some of us will be overjoyed at the outcome. Others will be infuriated, heartbroken, or at least disappointed. The transition of power may happen in peace, or the streets of our cities may be filled with violence. And among all those whose way of life feels threatened by the values of the other side, none will feel altogether secure.

When we realize what a thin thread social-political realities are on which to hang our well being, it begs the question: where do we find our hope and our confidence? And the answer, I believe, is in God and other people.

When asked what the two most important commandments were in the Bible, Jesus answered that it was to love God and love people. In modern terms, that would mean to ground ourselves in the reality that there is One who has made and who loves us, and to feel the realities of those around us (even our “enemies”), and to act as much for their good as our own, in big and small ways.

We must build our lives on that which cannot be taken away.

Otherwise, sooner or later, we may lose the things that give us hope. At the very ground of our being, I believe there is One who will never leave us nor forsake us, who forgives all our sins and calls us to himself. We cannot lose this One through an election, an injustice, or even death itself. And I believe if we focus our hearts on our neighbors, our loved ones, and even our “enemies”—and choose to love them, serve them, and live as much for their good as our ownwe will never run out of work, we will never run out of meaning, and we will never run out of hope.

Mike Ivaska is the pastor of Vashon Island Community Church, which is affiliated with the Assembly of God denomination.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Stay the course, remain vigilant against the virus. We’re not out of the woods, not yet.

Embracing Life In A Time-Between-Times

In the Christian faith at least, spring is a metaphor for resurrection.

Sunshine Always Follows The Rain

One resident of King County died of COVID-19 every day last week.

For One Year, Love Letters Have Boosted Radio Show

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the “Dear Vashon” show.

Shifting the Baseline Back Toward Truth

The baseline of political untruths has shifted pretty dramatically recently.

In Response To COVID Cases, VISD Must Get It Right

Concern for the mental well-being of students and for their physical health aren’t mutually exclusive

The Joy of Kindergarten Awaits New Students

We’re prepared to continue health and safety protocols already in place for as long as it’s necessary.

Jeff Hoyt
When We Get Back, Part 2

Pandemic traditions to keep around

Scott Durkee
How To Fix the Big Problem of Big Lies

I don’t venture off the island too often, but when I do… Continue reading

As March Blooms, So Do The Memories | Beachcomber editorial

Do you remember what you were doing a year ago today? You… Continue reading

When We Get Back, Part 1

My hope is that we never take a packed weekend of entertainment options on Vashon for granted again.

Finding Ways to Foster Better Mental Health on Vashon

Supporting yourself, your family, and friends, can go a long way.