Past theologian/minister, John Wesley said, “The world hopes for the best, but the Lord offers the best hope.” The world hopes for the best. How many times have you heard people say that? “So-and-so has cancer, but all we can do is hope for the best.” “I just lost my job, but I guess all I can do is hope for the best.”
It sounds like a great positive thinking, but in actuality, it seems very shallow. For to hope for the best is to hope, by chance, it will all work out. It is kind of a hope in hope, or at best a perchance hope that it will be good in the end. Sadly, most people who say, “all we can do is hope for the best,” says it with a deep sigh, as though they were only hanging on to a thin thread of hope.
Isaiah 40:27-31 says, “Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God’? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 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.”
The other day my wife and I were driving out the road and we were enjoying watching eagles flying out over the water. I was reminded a couple years ago of two instances within a couple weeks of each other that happened through which God reminded me that he carries us as on the wings of eagles.
First, we were visiting our kids in Homer one summer and we rode bikes out the Homer Spit. The spit is a fairly narrow strip of land and about 4 ½ miles long that juts out into Kachemak Bay. Heavy boulders between the shore and the road protect the roadway from the tides. I was riding a bicycle on the bike path, fighting against the wind that almost constantly blows out there. I noticed something I had never noticed before. I stopped and was mesmerized by it, and still am. In fact, I look for it whenever I visit Homer. I watched seagulls start out at the outer end of the spit and glide along the length of the spit, just above the rocky shore where the wind comes across the water and creates an updraft along the shoreline. I watched those seagulls soar for a long time along the shoreline, hardly ever flapping their wings. And they traveled a great distance just adjusting here and there to keep in the current. I was truly amazed.
The second instance was up on the Mount Roberts Tram. We were standing out on the viewing deck and looking down at the town below. It was evening and I again was mesmerized by the bald eagles. Starting at the bottom, they caught an updraft and glided on the wind current, higher and higher until I was still watching them soaring in the wind high above the mountain where we were standing. Again, they hardly flapped a wing! They just soared up and up on the currents, adjusting here and there to stay in the current.
God spoke to my heart through that observation of nature saying, that is my hope for you. You stew and fret about a lot of things, but I want you to simply put your hope in me. Set your spiritual wings on the current of my spirit and let me help you soar. It is too easy for me, maybe for us, to put all our hope in our strength, our good luck, our resources, our abilities, our ingenuity, our own efforts, and so on. And we hope for the best. But God reminds us that he is our best hope. Put your hope in the Lord Jesus Christ and soar with him!
• Daniel R. Wiese is pastor of the Church of the Nazarene. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.