When I returned to the States on home assignment in 2015, and then for a quick family visit in 2016, on both occasions I observed something within the hearts of my friends and family that troubled me. No matter where I was in the States – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho and even Washington DC, people (and most often times Believers) shared their hopelessness with me.
What was going on?
Where did this lack of hope come from?
These encounters served as the impetus for my hope study this year. As an encourager at heart, I wanted to study and gain truths about hope to share with my family and friends. It seemed strange to me that many followers of Christ, the Hope of all, would be struggling with this sense of pervasive hopelessness.
What was happening?
In my studies this morning, as I read words from Charles Spurgeon, a nineteenth century Baptist minister from England, the Lord provided insight into a possible cause of the hopelessness I observed in the States. I confess I hadn’t considered this thread of understanding until I had studied the relationship between waiting and hope in Scripture.
Charles Spurgeon wrote:
Those who do not hope, cannot wait.
Think about that…
Those who do not hope, cannot wait.
Since camping in the Psalms for the past few weeks, I have noted how waiting and hope are tightly bound in Scripture.
Here is one example:
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
New International Version, Psalm 130:5
The Psalmist’s words show that he was involved in an active, earnest wait in which his whole being was engaged with His Lord and Savior. The word wait comes from the transliterated word, kavah. Kavah is the base word of tiqvah – another word for hope in the Hebrew language. In this case, kavah means the extension of one cord to another. Whereas, tiqvah is defined as a cord.
Do you see where I am going with this?
The cord of hope we grasp is enjoined with an active, energetic waiting upon the Lord.
If we will keep hold.
But will we keep hold?
Are we keeping hold in this 21st century world?
This cord of hope is connected to our Lord. He appreciates, values and actually requires an active, energetic, hopeful waiting on our part in order to show His grace, His love, His mercy, His power and His purpose in our lives. His answers to us are directly tied to our hopeful waiting upon Him.
Yet, waiting is counterintuitive to our 21st century culture and to our human nature.
We want, what we want, when we want it – now!
Service delivery, creature comforts, ease of access, and any number of goods and services are designed with comfort and convenience in mind. Everything about the pace of our lives casts any aspect of waiting aside. Our culture discounts and discredits the value of waiting.
So why do it?
If waiting is not valued, appreciated and even honed in our lives, what does that mean for hope?
My friends, it is in our waiting that we put our hope in God.
Asking why wait is the same thing as asking why hope?!
Thus I am led to ask this question:
Is it because we give less value to waiting or perhaps have even stopped waiting altogether, that our hope is endangered?
What is the value of waiting?
It is not the event or object of our waiting that matters most.
It is the Lord of our waiting hope Who does!
For as we place our hope in the Lord and wait upon Him, we see that the Lord has something more in store for us than merely the object of our hope. First, in waiting upon our Lord we develop the patience of faith. Our faith matures and strengthens. Second, waiting allows time – consecrated time – for the situation, event, person, or object of our waiting hope to be fully prepared and ready to be given to us. And in the same way, we are more prepared as well. Third, a waiting hope demonstrates the sovereignty of God. For some of the Lord’s answers will not come as we originally hoped, but rather will be denied completely or granted in an altogether different way. The Lord is sovereign, good, and just. He will answer in a way that is to His glory and to our ultimate benefit and future good. Finally, a waiting hope -when answered – will be even more appreciated and more valued when it finally comes. It will be a sweet, sweet, sweet time!
My dear friends, is it no wonder that our pace of life, our desire for comfort, our demand for convenience is crowding out the necessity of a waiting hope?
For in them, we are placing our dependence upon performance, comfort, convenience and self.
We have no need of a waiting hope if we have no need of God – if we prefer to care for ourselves.
Friends, I believe this truth is a word of exhortation from our God Himself. I don’t often say that. It seems bold to write such a thing.
Yet, all I can say is: Wow! Wow! Wow!
If we cannot wait – we cannot hope!
Will we hold fast to our Lord with a patient, engaged, and dependent posture of waiting in this 21st century world? Even as the rest of the world keeps running?
Our hope in God is securely tied, strengthened and matured as we wait!
We have encouragement in our waiting hope:
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
New International Version, Romans 8:25
So, here’s my question for you:
If you are struggling with hope, could it be that you have struggled to wait – wanting answers for or perhaps even control of your future?
Pray into that question and wait upon the Lord for His answer.
I won’t say for certain that this is the cause for the hopelessness I have observed, but it gives me pause for serious thought!
What do you think?
Spurgeon, Charles. “Exposition of Psalm 130:5.” C.H. Spurgeon’s: The Treasury of David. classicstudylight.org. web. 26 Feb 2017.