Hope – CONFIDENT EXPECTATION OF THE GOOD TO COME BASED ON THE WORD OF GOD.
Andy Couch: Human beings can live for forty days without food, four days without water, and four minutes without air. But we cannot live for four seconds without hope.
What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.
—Emil Brunner, Swiss theologian (1889–1966)
David Burnham quote
David Burnham was an American architect who developed the master plans for a number of cities including Chicago and downtown Washington D.C. He also designed several famous buildings in New York City and Washington D.C. During his career Burnham said:
Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans. Aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our [children] and [grandchildren] are going to do things that would stagger us.
Illustration: Marco Polo
His Italian mother named him after the gospel writer Mark in the hopes that he too would tell the gospel truth. But 13th Century Europeans found it impossible to believe Mark's tales of faraway lands. He claimed that, when he was only seventeen, he took an epic journey lasting a quarter of a century, taking him across the steppes of Russia, the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, the wastelands of Persia, and over the top of the world through the Himalayas. He was the first European to enter China. Through an amazing set of circumstances, he became a favorite of the most powerful ruler on planet earth, the Kublai Khan. Mark saw cities that made European capitals look like roadside villages. The Khan's palace dwarfed the largest castles and cathedrals in Europe. It was so massive that its banquet room alone could seat 6,000 diners at one time, each eating on a plate of pure gold.
Mark saw the world's first paper money and marveled at the explosive power of gunpowder. It would be the 18th Century before Europe would manufacture as much steel as China was producing in the year 1267. He became the first Italian to taste that Chinese culinary invention, pasta. As an officer of the Khan's court, he travelled to places no European would see for another 500 years.
After serving Kublai Khan for 17 years, Mark began his journey home to Venice, loaded down with gold, silk, and spices. When he arrived home, people dismissed his stories of a mythical place called China. His family priest rebuked him for spinning lies. At his deathbed, his family, friends, and priest begged him to recant his tales of China. But setting his jaw and gasping for breath, Mark spoke his final words, "I have not even told you half of what I saw."
Though 13th Century Europeans rejected his stories as the tales of a liar or lunatic, history has proven the truthfulness behind the book he wrote about his adventures—The Travels of Marco Polo. 1300 years before Marco Polo wrote about China, another man, the Apostle John, went on an amazing journey to heaven itself. At times we jaded postmoderns shake our heads in disbelief at the Apostle John's vision and other biblical witnesses to the glory of heaven. But the biblical writers who describe heaven would declare to us, "I have not even told you half of what I saw. Heaven is more joyful, more glorious, and more beautiful than you could ever imagine." May their God-inspired testimonies and descriptions move us to long for God's gift to us in Christ—the glory of heaven.
Illustration: Jerry Sittser
In the fall of 1991, a car driven by a drunk driver jumped its lane and smashed headfirst into a minivan driven by Jerry Sittser. Sittser and three of his children survived, but Sittser's wife, four-year-old child, and mother died in the crash. Over the years Sittser has offered some profound reflections about loss, grief, and suffering. In his book A Grace Revealed, Sittser shares the following story about how his son David responded to the tragic accident.
My son David is—and always has been—quiet and reflective. After the accident, he was the least likely to talk about it; but when he chose to, he usually had something significant to say or ask. I had to be ready to respond to him when he sent cues indicating he was ready to talk. Our best conversations happened in the car. One particular conversation has stayed fresh in my memory. David was eight at the time; we were driving to a soccer match some distance from our home. Typical for these occasions, David was quiet. The car was full of silence—not a heavy silence, but a liquid silence, as if some question was brewing inside him.
"Do you think Mom sees us right now?" he suddenly asked.
I paused to ponder. "I don't know, David. I think maybe she does see us. Why do you ask?"
"I don't see how she could, Dad. I thought Heaven was full of happiness. How could she bear to see us so sad?"
Could Lynda witness our pain in Heaven? How could that be possible? How could she bear it?
"I think she does see us," I finally said. "But she sees the whole story, including how it all turns out, which is beautiful to her. It's going to be a good story, David."
I would not hazard to estimate the number of times I have been asked, "How does Christianity address the problem of suffering?" … The Christian answer to suffering [is] Christ's suffering [and] Christ's resurrection …. God knows pain within himself; God knows joy within himself. He knows the whole story as one, including how it all turns out, which is glorious indeed.
The Speed of Ketchup
An article in Time.com noted that ketchup flows out of a glass bottle at a rate of .028 miles per hour. That's slower than a Galapagos tortoise, which, according to the San Diego Zoo, zips along at a blazing 0.16 miles per hour, or almost six times faster than ketchup.
But impatiently tapping your ketchup bottle soon might be a thing of the past. Dave Smith, a PhD candidate at MIT, and a team of MIT mechanical engineers and nano-technologists have offered a posible solution to this ketchup flow problem. After months of research, Smith and his team developed LiquiGlide, which they define as a "kind of structured liquid [that's] rigid like a solid, but lubricated like a liquid." The researchers say that coating the inside of a bottle with LiquiGlide will cause ketchup and other sauces to slide out faster than a Galapagos tortoise. Smith claims that the sauce industry, which rakes in $17 billion a year, would love to get their hands on the invention.
The Time.com article concluded:"Let's hope some big [ketchup] companies bite. I'm tired of waiting five minutes for ketchup to land on my cheeseburger."
In our HURRY-UP World, we need to learn how to wait for the Ketchup.