Bible Verse: Romans 15:13 (NIV)
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.
Take a moment to ponder:
It is unlikely that there will be disagreement to the observation that at times in this world, hope seems scarce. As we face the various challenges and are confronted with the situations from which we seem unable to free ourselves; it becomes quite easy to conclude that there is no way out; that our backs are against the wall. Hoping in God does not come naturally for sinners like us. We have to be diligent and intentional in our discipleship endeavours, or we will give way to a downcast and disquieted spirit. We may find ourselves emptied of energy, creativity and even patience.
It was reported that in 1966, U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy made a visit to South Africa. There he offered words of hope to opponents of apartheid. His famous speech titled “Ripple of Hope” made at the University of Cape Town declared, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance”
Hope is not a mere desire for something good to happen. It is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. There is moral certainty in hope. When the word says, “Hope in God!” it does not mean, “Cross your fingers.” It means, that you are to, “Expect great things from God.”
So, there is an ultimate hope readily available for the follower of Christ. This is clearly seen in the following reassuring promises:
We have hope that is more than a ripple. It is an overwhelming current of confidence in the faithfulness of the One who conquered death for us. Jesus, in His victory over death – our greatest enemy – can infuse hope into the most hopeless of situations.
We have evidence of the way the psalmists wrestle and fight and struggle to maintain their hope in God. This is a normal experience and we are advised to own up to it so that we do not become unbelieving and negligent in our fight for hope. Here is encouragement as the soul argues with itself, preaches to itself – that we find in Psalm 42:5:
“Why, my soul, are you downcast Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.
It is when we have reached the end of our own resources that God begins to fill us with his. It is His desire to fill us with hope – the knowledge that we will have joy and peace, when we trust His help in every circumstance.
My prayer is that as we focus our attention on our Christian hope, God will fill our reservoir to overflowing, and that, deep joy and love; boldness and endurance will churn with new power for the glory of God.
Group Exercise: Insert a series of conversations e.g. three (3) in an ongoing study/activity group, based on 1 Peter 1:3-9, to discuss the following:
1) Identifying the presence/use of Hope in our daily living
2) How does society/culture facilitate hopelessness?
3) In Christ, the hopeless find hope – share your experience
A Moment in Prayer
Loving Father we thank you for being our only hope, and that you understand and care about the pain and darkness that we sometimes experience on our earthly journey.
Open our ears to hear you saying, “I am your hope” over all the distracting and confusing noises. Fill us with hope and remind us that hope is an unbreakable spiritual lifeline connected to you.
Father, you know the things in our heart that we barely dare to hope for. Today we give them to you, with the knowledge that you can do more than we could ever ask or imagine. You are indeed our hope and we trust you. Amen
With God, there is hope even in the most hopeless situation.
Contributed by Rev. Melrose Wiggan