When it rained, the streets turned to a muddy manure mush. During dry spells, heavy carriage and foot traffic beat the dung to a fine dust which, as one contemporary put it, blew “from the pavement as a sharp piercing powder, to cover our clothes, ruin our furniture, and blow up into our nostrils.”
New York alone was home to approximately 150,000 horses or, pessimistically, to some ten million pounds of manure a year. The offerings of the 15,000 horses of Rochester, New York, in 1900, would have covered an acre of soil with a heap 175 feet high. In light of ever-increasing production, many Americans feared that their cities would soon disappear under the dung.
But a godsend from the turn-of-the-century pollution was becoming available. At last, rejoiced Americans, the curtain was closing on the age of equine air. Cities would now be cleaner, quieter, healthier, safer places in which to work and live. At last, the age of the automobile had arrived!
It seems people are always waiting for the next best thing to arrive and take them away from their hectic, confusing, and busy lives. We often dream, if only I could pass that test; if only I could afford that car; if only I could keep a steady relationship with a member of the opposite sex; if only we could produce a child; if only we could find a cure to that disease. Life would be so much better if only. What people don’t realize – what people forget – is that the best new thing actually came several years ago, and its name is Jesus. Byron Nichols announced, in an article written for The Voice of Truth International, "Jesus is the most dynamic, life-changing, powerful personality to ever enter this world."
When Jesus Christ stepped into the world, He shattered all the if onlys to pieces. No if only can ever aspire to top His sacrifice. He Who is perfect has arrived and done the perfect thing.
He is what we have been waiting for. Jesus Christ is our Hope! In Paul’s salutation written to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:1, he simply states, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, Who is our hope."
Emily Dickinson, the beloved poet, said, "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul." Cesare Pavese understood that "Waiting is still an occupation." It is not having anything to wait for that is terrible. Roy Z. Kemp professed, "There is no better or more blessed bondage than to be a prisoner of hope." Even the oft-quoted philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, believed, "We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn." But while these profound statements speak of hope, none are referring to the Hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
Indeed, our Hope is more than a dream of Prince Charming, and it is more than a wish on a star or a penny in a wishing well. Hebrews 11:1 associates our hope with our faith. It says that "faith is the assurance of things hoped for…"
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe explained it well, when he said, "Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it." His statement describes true hope as something we expect will really come. Whether or not he was describing Christ, his statement rings true in regard to Christ. He is our Hope!
He has been called glorious and exalted; He has been called perfect and flawless; it is said He is kind, caring, sinless, faultless, outreaching, soul-touching, heart-changing, great, merciful, mighty, majestic, all-knowing, and compassionate. Those are just some of the adjectives. In fact, according to John 21:25, we could not possibly list all the adjectives, because we do not know all the verbs; we don’t know everything that Jesus did. It says, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written."
We’ll leave the topic for now with 2 Corinthians 9:15, in which Paul cleanly pronounces, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"