Hope can be hard to come by — at least, that’s what people think. According to the American Psychological Association, the suicide rate in the United States has risen nearly 33 percent since 1999. Nothing so clearly suggests a lack of hope.
Maybe it’s because we have an arsenal of feeble hopes. Money and relationships. Power and possessions. But none of those things last forever. And when those feeble hopes disappear, we think we have no hope at all.
In Psalm 73, the author contemplates whether or not he should be like those who disobey God. After all, he writes, “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind” (v. 3-5 ESV).
The psalmist finds himself examining the lives of the ungodly. And what an easier life it seems to be. One in which the ways of God are rejected. The desires of the flesh fulfilled. The riches of the world consumed.
In fact, the psalmist continues, “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence” (v. 12-13 ESV).
Hey there! Are you still in the waiting room? If so, I have good news. This week, I’m continuing my “In the waiting room” series on John 11:1-44. I’m studying three reasons why God keeps you waiting. Allow me to share them with you.
First, God is glorified through your waiting.
Remember, this series comes from the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. It begins like this: “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:1-6 ESV).
Charles Swindoll says, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” While I’m no statistician, I’m pretty sure he’s right. At least close.
Nearly a year ago, I graduated high school. As I walked across the stage, Proverbs 16:9 was read. “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (NLT). And let me tell you, I’m finding this verse to be true.
I had plans. Godly plans. I had just received a big scholarship to a Christian university. I had just given a graduation speech that escalated quickly in the community. I was being recognized on Walk-FM as a “World Changer.” I had a girlfriend who I genuinely felt God had given me. For the most part, life was good.
It caught me off guard. I was on my way to school. Jamming to some rap. Feeling pretty good. When all of a sudden, a warning came across my dashboard: “Warning, engine overheated.”
I glanced at the temperature gauge, only to find the dial resting on red. Needless to say, I was freaking out. I stopped my engine as soon as I could. Hello, State Route 733. The outskirts of Pomeroy.
My Meigs County readers know two things about 733: there’s nowhere to pull off, and the cell phone service is terrible.
After letting my engine cool for a couple of minutes, I made it to Taz’s gas station. I finally reached my dad on the phone. He said, “Pop the hood. Check the antifreeze.”