I will never forget my first trip to the United Kingdom. I had been dreaming of this moment for over a year and it had finally come. I was scheduled to preach all across this beautiful country, from the busy streets of London to the wide open spaces of rolling hills. And in-between explore old castles and drink tea with the Queen.
Okay... I was too busy to have tea, but hopefully next time.
Ummmmm... I’m freezing
I finally arrived at my first stop and was met by the lead pastor. I was excited to finally meet him seeing as we had only communicated via email.
You know when you start talking with someone and it’s just super awkward? It’s almost like words don’t seem to make sense and you forgot how to make complete sentences.
Yeah, that was happening.
We both realized that we had very different ideas of who the other person was. Not that one is better than the other but when it came to what he wanted me to preach that morning, it was very different from what I prepared. In the church world, this can be an issue.
After we had finished talking he escorted me to where I would be staying for the night. For the last year I had been living in South Beach, Miami where it’s literally summer all year long. Now he was taking me to a small trailer that is on the coldest and wettest beach front I have ever experienced.
I was finally alone, freezing, my head spinning, and me being a very dramatic person, I yell at the top of my lungs,
“WHY AM I HERE!” Dramatic, right?
I don’t remember being this cold since I had fallen through the ice when I was a kid. I opened up my bags, threw everything on the bed, and put every piece of clothing that I had on.
5 pairs of socks
3 pairs of pants & shorts
5 button up shirts
5 pairs of underwear
And the very suit I was going to wear in the morning.
The guy didn’t really like me anyway, so who cares if my suit was a bit wrinkly, right?
I stayed up the whole night walking the streets and pacing the trailer. Yelling, crying, and feeling really, really confused. Asking myself why I was there and why the heck it was so cold. Wondering if I made a mistake in coming. Any hope of actually making a difference here was slowly disappearing, as was the excitement.
Hope is one word that I associate with Love.
Like, how do you explain it?
It’s like a feeling and an action.
You kinda just have it, right?
Hope seems to push you through when you feel like quitting — even when the odds are against you.
Hope is this idea that there is a light at the end of the tunnel kinda thing.
Hope...is just hope.
I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the world is losing hope. Hope that things will get better. Every time you turn on the TV or surf the web it’s just hopelessness. Where do we even go from here? Can it be fixed? What is the answer? Who is the answer?
So, the real question is what is this hope going to be? Because people want to have something to hope for again.
May I propose that the hope people are looking for is you, and it’s me. The gifts, talents, dreams, and passions that make up our very being — because the world will only ever have one you, one me, and we were put on this planet for a reason.
To be hope for humanity.
grey hair & old pews
The church had this “coffee & tea” area with a few tables so I sat down to look over my notes and have a cup of coffee. I was approached by an older, grey-haired man and he asked me if I wanted a cup of tea. I told him that I would love a cup of a coffee, and he replied by saying they only do tea. I was beginning to think this country was really messed up. The old man brought me a cup of tea and sat down with me. I could tell he wanted to have a conversation.
I was not in the mood for this, but then it happened.
He began to tell me his life story. How he had never left this small sea village, but had dreamed to do so many things. How he always wanted to travel and help with the shortage of clean water in Africa. That when he was a kid he had hoped to give his life to something greater than himself.
The conversation went on for almost an hour with him just pouring out what seemed to be lost in his heart for more than thirty years. I just sat there and saw in his eyes a glimpse of who he used to be intertwined with who he had become. I couldn’t even get a word in if I wanted to.
Mid-conversation I just wanted to face-palm myself. I had made everything that had happened thus far on my trip about me. When the reason for me flying half-way across the world was sitting right across from me.
I was here to be hope. Even if it was just for this old, grey-haired man in that moment.
Because he is worth it.
His time was not yet done.
You see, when you lose hope, it’s as if you lose the very best of who you
Isn’t this where we’re all at?
Where humanity is at?
We all have dreams, passions, talents, gifts, but somewhere down the line we lose hope.
Maybe it’s a broken promise,
a failure of some sort
a broken relationship
You name it.
This thing we call life, and the messiness that it brings, seems to always try and steal our hope.
It’s how we respond that will affect the course of our lives and the lives of others.
Before I had a chance to add to the conversation, the pastor had come to tell me that the service was about to start and that they were ready for me. So, I got up, shook the old man’s hand, and he asked me a question, “Would you like sugar in your tea?”
I said, “No." and walked away.
When I walked up on to the stage I knew exactly what I was supposed to preach. Just Jesus. That He is the hope for humanity. As I looked out, I saw mostly old women and men sitting in the pews. Their eyes wide, and I saw life come into them and I watched as hope in Jesus was restored. It
was so simple, but the message that Jesus really did love them and their only response was to love others the same.
Maybe it really is this simple?
Following the service, the old man approached me and shook my hand. Tears streaming down his face, he looked into my eyes and said, “For the first time in 20 years, I realized that I have hope”. This was the moment I knew what I was there for.
We Are The Hope
Don’t be like me.
Don’t waste another moment thinking your moment has to look or be a certain way.
It’s probably sitting right across from you.
What I have learned in my years of great success, and even greater failure, is we really are the only hope people will ever see. May I say it a better way? We’re the only Jesus people will ever see. We’re all waiting and looking to the next answer or solution when it’s us.
Even when you don’t feel like it.
I’m going to try.
Jesus is the hope for humanity, and our only reasonable response is to be the same.
So Let Hope Rise.