The Thrill of Hope

The thrill of hope. I’ve been seeing that phrase on everything Christmas this year. It’s a marketing slogan for one company. It’s the title of Advent devotionals. Oh. The words are taken from a well known Christmas song “O Holy Night”. We sing it every year, but do we notice the words we’re singing? Do we pay attention to the meaning of the words?

The thrill of hope. What is that?

thrill/THril/noun a sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure.

hope/hōp/noun a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

My dog looks up at me with anticipation. Her tail is wagging faster than a foot can walk. It beats against my leg, as in rhythm with a band only she can hear. It beats so hard and long that I’m surprised she isn’t sore or injured from the constant movement. She’s waiting for her favorite treat. Or for a walk outside. Perhaps she’s longing for a trip to the dog park. She knows the thrill of hope. Hoping that her anticipation will turn into reality.


Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19


It’s December.  The seemingly longest month of the year.  At least in terms of darkness and light.  With the time change in the fall, the days are getting longer.  They’re so long now that it seems we spend more time in the dark than we do in the light.  I drive to work in the dark.  I drive home in the fading sun.  If the sun shines in the morning, the day suddenly seems full of hope.  It brings an anticipation of good things to come.  Until the darkness falls again.

When January turns the corner, I feel hope rising.  I know that by the end of the first month of the new year, the days will begin to lengthen by one minute a day.  Doesn’t seem like much.  One minute.  But that’s 31 minutes by the end of January.  By the end of February, there’s 28 more minutes.  Almost a full hour of light has been added in the darkest of winters.  It brings the thrill of hope that spring is coming.  That spring will show up again as it always does.

God will make a way through the wilderness. He will make a river in the desert. If he can do those things, why not trust him to make a way through your wilderness? Why not trust him to lead you to the river in your dry wasteland? He will, you know. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But God will make a way. He is working for you. Not against you. In his sweet timing and perfect plan, God’s way will shine forth as the dawning day.

The thrill of hope keeps me holding on to the promises God has given. The thrill of hope lets me know that my eternal future is brighter than I can imagine. My hope is in heaven. This life will have trouble, but the thrill of eternal hope moves me forward as I cling to God’s love, forgiveness, grace and mercy.

The thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. ‎–Placide Cappeau

We Have the Hope

She walked into my office and sat down. I don’t think I can do this job. She said. I understood where she was coming from. Just a few short months ago, I was saying the same words.

I told her there was hope. Things will click. It just takes time.  You will get there. I continue to give her words of encouragement, because I know she’s capable. I know if she sticks to it, she will have more than hope. She will have a newfound confidence that comes only through perseverance. I know that eventually she will be able to encourage other new ones who come behind her to persevere in their time of learning.

The thing is. I can’t rescue her from the difficulties she is facing. I can’t relieve the fears she feels in her insecurities. I can’t do the job for her. I have my own work to do. She must face the uncertainties and newness with boldness and strength. She must be willing to do the hard work in order to see the results. I hope she is willing.

But fear is a thing to be reckoned with. It can overtake. Overwhelm. Overrule our good intentions. It can pull us under if we don’t think rationally about the reality of the situation. Oh. It’s ok to be fearful. But fear doesn’t have to rule our lives and thoughts and actions. Fear is a liar.

There is hope. Without hope, we crumble. We fall. We lose our way. But when hope surfaces, the sun shines brighter. The flowers are prettier. The breathing is clearer. The day is worth living.

We all need something to hope for. Something to get us out of bed in the morning. But what is it? What do I hope for? What is my deepest longing?

I have given Christ countless reasons not to love me. None of them changed his mind. Paul Washer

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?


No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39


I’ll tell you what gives me hope and quiets my fears.

Nothing can separate me from God’s love. Not even trouble or calamity. Not even persecution or hunger or poverty or danger. Not even if I’m threatened with death. God loves me even in the hard times.

Death or life can’t separate me from God’s love. Neither can angels or demons. The fears of today and the worries of tomorrow can’t make God stop loving me. The powers of hell can’t separate me from God’s love.

There is no power in the sky above or in the earth below that can remove God’s love from me. Nothing in all of creation will ever be able to separate me from God’s love.

Jesus Christ is mightily loving his people with omnipotent, moment-by-moment love that does not always rescue us from calamity but preserves us for everlasting joy in his presence even through suffering and death. John Piper

The good news is this. God’s love is forever. It is eternal. His love is so deep and so wide. It encompasses everything. No matter what I do or what I say. God will still love me. He can’t stop loving me.

That’s why he paid the ultimate price by giving his Son in my place. That gives me a hope that never runs dry. God’s love is forever. And therein lies my hope.