Overflowing with Hope
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We often use the word “hope” when we want something to happen, but have little assurance that it will. I hope my mechanic won’t tell me I need new brakes, even though I’m pretty sure I do. I hope my favorite team will win in the playoffs, in spite of the fact that they are not the best team. For us, hope seems to be filled with uncertainty and implausibility.
Christian hope is different. Our hope rests, not on wishful thinking, but on God who is “the source of hope.” Hope focuses, not on things like brakes and sports, but on God’s work in our world. Though life might be hard now, in time God will renew earth and heaven. In that day, all things will become new, and life will be as God intended it to be in the first place. For Christians, this expectation for the future is not wishful thinking, but conviction based on the trustworthiness and power of God.
But how can we actually feel such confident hope in a difficult and disappointing world? The answer to this question points to our experience of God in the present. As he fills us “completely with joy and peace,” we have assurance that our lives, and, indeed, the whole cosmos, are in God’s strong and faithful hands. Moreover, our hope does not depend upon us: our thoughts and feelings. Rather, it comes by the power of God’s own Spirit. Hopefulness isn’t something we rev up through our efforts. Rather, it is a gift from the Holy Spirit.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What do you think of when you hear the word “hope”? Are you a hopeful person? Why or why not? What helps you to have Christian hope?PRAYER: Dear Lord, I hope for many things. Some of them will no doubt come to pass; others will not. Sometimes my hopes are really just wishes.
But hoping in you is different. You give me solid ground for hope. But that doesn’t mean that anything I wish for will come true. Rather, you also focus my hope upon you and your work in the cosmos. You are fulfilling your promises. You are in the process of renewing all things. In your time, this work will be completed. In that day, the kingdom of this world will become fully and finally your kingdom. Hallelujah!
In the meanwhile, Lord, may I be a person of hope. By your Spirit at work in my life, may I have confidence in you. May your hope give me strength to live each day for you. Amen.