“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” - Romans 15:13
How would you describe a life overflowing with Christian hope? Notice I said, “Christian hope,” which is hope that is only found in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. What would characterize such a life? How would a person overflowing with hope by the power of God’s Spirit think and behave? What would his relationships look like? What would his priorities be?
I fear that the word “hope” is greatly misunderstood in the Christian community. In common use, hope is used more like a shot in the dark than as a confident expectation. “I hope my plane takes off on time.” “I hope I made an A on my test.” “I hope our team wins this weekend.” These uses of hope don’t carry any real confidence that the hope will be fulfilled.
We all use the word hope this way in everyday conversations. But as Christ followers we must be careful not to apply this definition to the hope God gives in Christ. God has caused us to be born again to a living hope, a hope that is different from a lot of other hopes we’ve known. There is a point in history that sets our hope apart from any other – the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Peter writes, “He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).” God established our hope when He raised His Son from the dead.
There will always be the temptation to lose hope based on circumstances. But since Jesus overcame the darkest of circumstances, we can have hope that transcends whatever obstacles we face. There will never be a day that is darker, harder or sadder than the day Christ was crucified. If hope could be lost, that would have been the day for it. And yet even then, God was reigning in power, mercy and love. What appeared to be the most hopeless of all circumstances actually secured eternal hope for all who believe.
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the hope you have given us in Christ. Please help me to trust in You, despite how my circumstances may seem.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.