Several years ago I took one of those life expectancy tests available online. I was curious to find out how many years I was expected to live. After plugging in the required information, I pushed “enter” for the grand calculation. “93” appeared on the screen. (My late mother would be proud!)
I took a similar test recently, and six more years were added! “99” popped up as the predicted time of my exit from planet earth. (Wooh! I’m not sure I want to live that long. So if you see me bungie-jumping or golfing—nothing like golf to get my blood pressure up—you will know why!)
Life expectancy is important to insurance carriers, the health care network, local and national government policy-making, and a thousand other industries.
Life expectancy is also important to you.
By life expectancy, however, I mean something different than the number of years you are statistically expected to live. I mean the quality of life you expect to enjoy in the years ahead. In other words, the hope you have in the future before you.
There is nothing more important to the success of your journey than hope. Hope is the fuel, the energy. As long as you keep hoping, you keep moving. You keep striving. You keep living. The Reformer Martin Luther (1483—1546) remarked, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”
Psalm 27 is a powerful testimony to one man’s hope for better days ahead in spite of the adverse circumstances surrounding him. Evil men were advancing against him, enemies and foes attacking him, an army besieging him, and war breaking out against him.
If that was not bad enough, he talks about his own father and mother forsaking him. And then he mentions “oppressors,” “foes,” and “false witnesses”—all plotting against him.
It could not have been more bleak for David. No matter, he still triumphantly declares, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (v. 13). His life expectancy was high.
Such confidence kept David from cracking, from caving in, from quitting. In light of his hope, he charges himself with these words: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (v. 14).
Perhaps you are at a place where hope is difficult. You lost your job, you have just been through a divorce, you got a negative report from your doctor, your son or daughter has gone off the deep end. Or maybe just the simple “hum-drum” of life has gotten to you. Nothing memorable, so it seems, ever happens in your life.
Whatever the case, your life expectancy is down. You have given up looking for pots of gold under rainbows. You are afraid to believe for fear of being disappointed once again.
Friend, you must fight the fight of faith. There is a God, and he rewards those who diligently seek him (Heb. 12:6). In Romans, Paul wrote: “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations…Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (4:18-21).
There is nothing more important to the success of your journey than hope. The same man who penned “I am still confident” wrote, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” The word follow used here means “pursue” or “chase after.” It is the same word used for persecute. It is a violent term.
God’s goodness and mercy will hound you, track you down, and knock you over. Knowing this gives you a confidence that will carry you through anything.
So wait for the Lord.
“Expect great things; attempt great things.”
(William Carey, Father of Modern Missions, 1761–1834)