The Thrill of Hope Podcast Notes

There are a couple of sides to hope. It’s not quite as thrilling as it used to be. There is an alternate title I could have used for this message.

The thrill of waiting.

But the reality is, there is no hope without waiting. Let me read you some ancient wisdom that puts hope in perspective.

Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24,25

That’s true isn’t it. We don’t hope for what we have. The moment we get what we want hope is essentially over. We hope for what we want. But in my experience it’s not always thrilling. I love the word hope, but there are a couple of words in there I’m not crazy about. Wait and patiently.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40 NIV

Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31  Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength; Isaiah 40 NASB

The word hope and the word wait are basically interchangeable

How good are you at waiting?
What is the worst waiting you’ve done?
What’s the worst real life waiting?

Hope deferred makes the heart sick proverbs 13:12

I don’t like waiting because I’ve experience the agony of hope
The pain of hope
The impatience of hope
The waiting. The wanting. The not getting. The impatience. The feeling like I’m not important. Hope isn’t always thrilling.

Cancer waiting

Wouldn’t you like to experience the thrill of hope. Wouldn’t you like to be someone who eagerly anticipates what’s next. Wouldn’t you like to be known as a person of hope. Someone who believes the best is coming.

What does it take to be good at hope. You have to be good at waiting

It was the 1950s, and a high-rise office building in Manhattan had a problem. The tenants complained of an excessively long wait for the elevator when people arrived in the morning, took their lunch break, and left at night. Engineers examined the building and determined that nothing could be done to speed up the service. Desperate to keep his tenants, the building manager turned to his staff for suggestions. One employee came up with a suggestion. The building manager agreed to give it a try and after it was done, and complaints dropped to nearly zero.

So what did the owner of the high rise do to solve the problem of people getting angry waiting for an elevator? Do you want to know what he did to get complaints down to almost zero. The answer to this riddle is the answer to our wait as well. The owner of the high rise installed these. Mirrors. He put them on the walls next to the elevators and complaints went down to almost nothing because mirrors gave people something to do. They could check themselves out. They could check each other out. You know the way you do when you look in a mirror so you can creep without looking directly at someone. That was the answer. Think about how many other hotels and high rises you’ve been in that have mirrors. Like all of them.

So how does that help us in our wait? Here’s what we need to be doing when we wait. While we wait we need to be looking at ourselves. We need to be working on us. We need to be devoted people, committed people, thankful people.

What they did will change the way you deal with waiting. It will help you learn how to be a person that experiences the thrill of hope. Do you want to know what they did? I’ll tell you at the end. This is your first chance to practice the thrill of waiting.

There is no hope without waiting

It reminds me of a trip I took to Wrigley field last September. Me and a buddy had tickets to a Cubs game and before the game we took a tour or Wrigley field. During the tour we got to go on the field.

Before we went on the field there were two rules that we were told we had to abide by. One, we couldn’t reach down and pick up any dirt or grass off of the field. Second, and most importantly, we were told in no uncertain terms that we could not sprinkle the ashes of any dead relative onto the field at Wrigley. Apparently that is a common occurrence. Cubs fans go to the game and scatter the ashes of Uncle Lou. These people have waited their whole life for the cubs to win the world series and even after their death they remain so dedicated that it’s their dying wish to have their ashes spread over wrigley field. Cubs fans know all about waiting.

A faithful life is filled with waiting.

Why am I doing this
Why am I trying to what’s right
Why don’t I move just move in
Why don’t I run away from this marriage.
Why should I be faithful and fight through
Why don’t I just tell the lie and take the money

Why am I being faithful. Why do I have to wait. Why can’t I just do what feels good now.

Is the waiting worth it?

I have observed enough of life to realize that taking the short cut doesn’t pay off

Your patient endurance with your child got you through junior high and high school and now that they are in college you have your relationship back
You stuck with your marriage and now the spark has returned
You fought through the financial hard times and were faithful and now you have hit a season of plenty
You made the right decision to stay pure and God honored it with a good relationship
Waiting on God is hard, but when we stay faithful he is faithful.

Ultimate hope

Joe’s Story
After my dad passed 20 years ago my mom started dating a guy from her church. Joe took care of my mom. They went to movies and concerts. They traveled together. They didn’t get married. According to my mom, this is why. She and Joe came to church a few years back and someone from the church came to me and told me this story. “Hey Jack. I was just talking to your mom and I met her boyfriend. I asked if they were married and your mom said, “I’ll marry him if he gets me pregnant.” Mom’s say the strangest things. They never got married but Joe was there for my mom. A few years back it was becoming obvious that Joe was not doing well. He was in his nineties and his health was failing. So I went up and visited him. I will always remember Joe’s attitude. He knew he was dying and he was at complete peace. In fact he straight up told me, “I’m ready to go see Jesus.” Two weeks later he was gone.

How does waiting turn into hope. It turns into hope when you are waiting for the right person.

Let me read you a verse that is all about waiting.

24 Ala yon bèl jounen Seyè a ban nou! Ann pase jounen an ap fè fèt, ann fè kè nou kontan! Sòm 118:24

Let me put this in words you can understand.

This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

As most of you know my wife and I are in the process of adopting a child from Haiti. It’s been over two and a half years. I am uniquely qualified to talk about waiting and uniquely unqualified. I have done a lot of waiting and praying and hoping and I have also done a lot of whining and complaining and screaming at God. It’s a hard wait.

I just visited my daughter in Haiti and while I was there I commissioned an artist to make me two signs each with this verse. One in english and one in creole. My idea was that I would give one to my daughter in english and she could keep it in her room and I would bring home the creole version and put it in my house. When she saw the sign she asked me to put it in her new bedroom at home so I have them both.

Here’s what I am trying to learn in the waiting. This is the day that the Lord has made. This one. Right now. I need to rejoice and be glad in this day. I am still hoping for that ultimate day. That day when my daughter is home. But I’m going to choose to rejoice in this day. In this day I will be faithful. In this day I will trust Jesus. In this day I will find something that God is doing and be grateful for it. And then when that ultimate day comes I’ll rejoice. I’ll sing. I’ll leap for joy. But as I wait I’m going to make the most of this day. It’s not the length of the wait, it’s what you are doing while you wait.

The reality is we are all waiting. People waited for hundreds of years for the messiah. Then he came. Now we are waiting for him to come back. The bible tells us that no one will know the hour or the day. There is no specific end time to this wait.

God doesn’t tell us “Your approximate wait time is 10 years.”
“There are 3 callers in front of you.” My question is, what will you do while you wait? Complain. Mope. Yell. Scream. Or will you grow. Will you stay committed. Will you be devout. That’s the only way you will ever experience the thrill of hope.