Knowing God, Knowing Hope, Part 2Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
In Ephesians 1:17-19, Paul prays that the recipients of his letter might know the hope that comes in response to God's calling. As we realize that God has called us to share in the fullness of salvation, in the unifying of all things, and even in his own glory, we find our hearts filling with hope.
Yet, Christian hope is not merely a matter of emotions. Nor is it wishful thinking or a positive attitude. Christian hope is not believing that which we know, deep down in our hearts, will never happen. On the contrary, biblical hope includes deep conviction. It is confident expectation. It is an attitude toward the future that is based solidly on what we can know today.
What is the basis of Christian hope? It's the very character of God, revealed to us in manifold ways, most of all in Jesus Christ. Thus, Paul prays that we might know God better so that we might know hope better. In particular, the more we grasp the wonder of God's calling, the more we realize all that his calling entails, the more we will be people of confident hope.
Advent hope provides a perfect illustration of biblical hope. In Advent, we put ourselves back into the shoes of the Israelites who hoped for a Messiah. Yet, as we do, we know that the Messiah did come, that he was born in a manger and died upon a cross. Thus, our hope is filled with certainty.
Furthermore, in Advent, we hope for the time when Christ will return and usher in the kingdom of God completely, unifying all things in heaven and on earth. Though this has not yet happened, we can hope with assurance because we know that God is trustworthy, that his promises will be fulfilled.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What helps you to have confident expectation as you think about the future? What makes it hard for you to hope with confidence? In what facets of your life do you need more hope today?
PRAYER: Faithful God, thank you for allowing me to have confident hope. Thank you for the assurance that comes when I remember your mercy, your grace, your faithfulness. When my heart struggles with discouragement or despair, may I remember who you are and how you have called me to yourself. In this remembrance, may I have hope. Amen.
We have just entered the Christian season of Advent. If you would like to celebrate Advent, you might find the following resources helpful:
Advent Devotional Guide from Laity Lodge Youth Camp and Laity Lodge Family Camp.
Introduction to Advent available on my blog.
Introduction to the Christian Year available on my blog.
My e-book, Discovering Advent: How to Experience the Power of Waiting on God at Christmastime, available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Images sourced via Creative Commons.