Posts Tagged ‘The Best is Yet to Come’

The best is yet to come

September 23, 2017

Verse of the Day for September 23, 2017 comes from Romans 5:3-5(NKJV):

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

The Message Bible puts it this way:

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

This particular passage from Romans leads us to hope, a topic of considerable importance today.  A previous post speaks of “Hope: the antidote for despair”:

In the midst of tumultuous times that flood our souls as tribulation abounds on every hand, it is easy to see how persistent discouragement can lead to despair which is defined as the complete loss or absence of hope; to despair means to lose or be without hope. Once despair sets in, this mental state is perpetuated by prevailing unbelief. The downward spiral plummets into the depths of despair, a living hell with the welcome banner: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

To overcome a toxic emotion such as despair, we must move in the opposite spirit or in the opposite direction.  We find that “hope” is the antidote for despair. Hope is the expectation of a future good. Again, as Christian believers go to the Word of God, they will find out that God is our hope

The Psalmist offers this marvelous reminder:

Psalm 71:5

For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence.

Hope counteracts thoughts of despondency, when we recognize that hope is a joyful and confident expectation. Though we are confronted with challenges on every hand, even in the face of death itself, we still have hope:

2 Corinthians 1:9-10

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of his victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally. So often believers are shackled to the past, as old wounds, previous hurts, and disappointments continually surface to cloud our future which ever unfolds with glorious expectation that our best days are ever on the horizon. In thinking about hope as our expectation of a future good, we recognize that “the best is always yet to come,” but we must remember

To Soar on Wings of Hope

The best is yet to come. . .

song composed by Cy Coleman,

with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh.

                

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung

Lonnell E. Johnson

 

At times we seek to capture the fleeting what never was;

While the distant past seeks to satisfy, it never does.

Whittier’s poignant lines “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,”

Cause us to consider “The saddest these: it might have been.”

But wasted efforts seek to recapture things left behind:

Fragments of those distant memories, vestiges of the mind.

Though our lives may not have unfolded as we thought they would,

Now we know that all things have worked together for the good.

Each glorious triumph and disaster, we choose to forget.

As we savor the goodness of God, we have no regret.

We must leave behind all of the hurt of the past somehow,

For all life crescendos into the ever-present now.

Although the past attempts to sway us from our destiny,

We rise to soar on wings of hope: the best is yet to be.

 

We close our entry with Bishop Paul S. Morton proclaiming “The Best is Yet to Come”:

Tillie Olsen meets “Maud Muller”: “To Soar on Wings of Hope”

February 10, 2012

Author Tillie Olsen generated a thoughtful comment from a student.

Recently while concluding a writing course at Indiana Wesleyan University’s Columbus, Ohio Center, I happened to think of a student’s response to one of the questions regarding “I Stand Here Ironing,” an essay by Tillie Olsen, a somber unfolding of unfortunate circumstances that contribute to the fractured relationship between a mother and her now adult daughter.

I taught the course for the first time almost a year ago at the IWU Center in Louisville, Kentucky.  As I was grading the responses to questions for the essay, I came across a particular response that arrested my attention. One of the students in the English 141 in Louisville wrote the following regarding the Olsen essay:

Is this story bleak, or do you see it as hopeful?  Explain.

This story to me is very bleak, and I believe that a chance of a positive relationship may be hard to achieve.  The mother now wants a relationship with her daughter, but I do not believe that the daughter wants a relationship with her mother.  It is difficult to rekindle something that you never really had.

In reading that most insightful comment, I experienced a remarkable moment of enlightenment, as the rivers of understanding flowed together, erupting into a splendid epiphany while reflecting on relationships that I had endeavored to “rekindle” but failed to do so, despite my best efforts. I now realize that the relationship that I thought I had never really developed in the first place. Most remarkably and ironically, the student who wrote the comment is a funeral director. If anyone knows the truth of such situations, he would certainly know.

In addition, I happened to think of a line from a poem that I first encountered as a freshman in high school, when Mrs. Frances Uncapher, my freshman English teacher, introduced our class to One Hundred Narrrative Poems, one of which was “Maud Muller” by John Greenleaf Whittier.” I wrote a reflective essay in which I celebrated my journey into teaching on the university level and paid tribute to some of the teachers who have influenced me, one of whom was Mrs. Uncapher. This is how I describe her:

I was introduced to the power of poetry in my freshman year of high school when Mrs. Frances Uncapher, my English teacher, read aloud the narrative poetry of William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Whitcomb Riley, and other “three-named” authors. She read their works and discussed their poetry as if she were personally acquainted with each author.

 Click here to read the entire article: http://www.nea.org/assets/img/PubThoughtAndAction/TAA_03_06.pdf

Maud Muller, a simple country maid, in the narrative poem by John Greenleaf Whittier.

John Greenleaf Whittier’s “Maud Muller” depicts a simple country maid who meets a young judge, but they depart ways before any serious relationship can develop. The poem ends with these tragic and often quoted lines:

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

I had written a trio of poems on faith, hope and love, and the one on hope contained a literary allusion to the last lines from Whittier’s poem. The statement “It is difficult to rekindle something that you never really had.” brought to mind the poem on hope to which I added to the quote from my English 141 student. Here is poem with the two quotations:

 Beyond Whittier to Soar on Wings of Hope        

It is difficult to rekindle something that you never really had.”

                           Jonathan Harris

                

Knowing the best lines are yet to be sung.

                      Lonnell E. Johnson

At times we seek to capture the fleeting what never was;

While the distant past seeks to satisfy, it never does.

Whittier’s poignant lines “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,”

Cause me to consider “The saddest these: it might have been.”

But wasted efforts seek to recapture things left behind:

Fragments of those distant memories, vestiges of the mind.

Though my life has not unfolded as many thought it would,

Now I know that all things have worked together for the good.

Each glorious triumph and disaster, I choose to forget.

As I savor the goodness of God, I have no regret.

I must leave behind all of the hurt of the past somehow,

For all life crescendos into the ever-present now.

Although the past attempts to sway me from my destiny,

I soar on wings of hope–the best is always yet to be.

Larnelle Harris and the Brooklyn Tabernacle close this commentary on a hopeful note with this reminder of where our hope must be found.

Similarly, Donald Lawrence, offers a final reminder of the truth expressed in the closing phrase of the poem which is similar to title of this song: “The Best is Yet to Come.”