I preached today on hope. Here is part of it:
It is tempting to give up hope sometimes, whether it is hope to reach a personal goal, for a relationship, a medical issue, or a relationship with God, for happiness, or for something else.
When we face heartbreak, rejection, hurt, failure, impossible odds, confusion, etc., we often use coping mechanisms. One of those coping mechanisms is giving up hope.
But Jesus tells us “with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Nothing is too hard for God. (Gen. 18:14). Indeed, Jesus tells us “everything is possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23).
Of course, I have no idea if the things that are weighing on you and me are going to resolve the way we want.
But Jesus tells us, with God, all things are possible. So, they *might* resolve the way we hope. It’s possible.
OK, great. It’s possible with God. But what do we do with that?
The Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Rome to tell them what they should do with it.
They needed encouraging, as they faced much persecution and despair.
One of the things Paul said to them is, “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)
So, Paul didn’t send wishes that everything resolve the way the Roman Christians wanted them to resolve.
And Paul didn’t tell them that everything was clearly spelled out for the Roman Christians in scripture.
Instead, the Apostle Paul encouraged the Roman Christians to trust God. Trust which god? The God, “the God of hope.”
Paul’s desire, Paul’s prayer, was that people trust God. And that God fill the people with joy and peace while they trusted God. With trust in God can come such joy and peace, Paul tells us.
And We Are Not Left to Be On Our Own With This
We aren’t on our own on this, Paul says.
The Holy Spirit, God here on Earth with us, exerts the power of God to let us overflow with hope as a result of our trusting in God.
For Me, Not so Easy, But …
This is hard for me. I want everything to resolve the way I want, and I want to find the answers and rules for everything set out exactly in scripture.
But what the Bible suggests I do is trust God, don’t give up hope, strengthen my belief, recognize all things—even the impossible—are possible with God, and anticipate joy and peace while I trust in God, so that I may overflow with hope with the help of the great power of the Holy Spirit.
I won’t declare this is easy. But I will declare that it starts with trusting God.
And I will acknowledge that I am thankful to have help, to know that I don’t rely just on my own power to have hope, but also on the help and power of the Holy Spirit.
Blessings for You
Paul’s words seem like an appropriate blessing for all of us as we go: “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)
Sources & Notes
Updated January 2021 (added headers, clarity, punctuation correction).
Picture by marcelkessler at pixabay