Another Side of Sunday: Hope

Our series on Christian Characteristics points us toward hope this week. Hope is “to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true; to expect with confidence” (Merriam-Webster).

Let me ask you:

Are you a hope-full person? What do you anticipate or expect with confidence? Is your glass half-full or half-empty?

Paul reminds us in the book of Romans:

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 8:24-25

Paul’s thought didn’t end with verse twenty-five. He continued with four words, in the same way, connecting two paragraphs.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Romans 8:26-27

Reading The Message, beginning at Romans 8:22, gives us the context of our hope. We are waiting for something new to come to fruition.

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Romans 8:22-28 The Message

Hope is wrapped in waiting, but waiting can be a tough, lonely thing.

The truth is we don’t like to wait and often become weary. Sometimes we’re prone to give up. We throw our hands in the air and turn to something that instantly gratifies.

Paul’s words remind us of the hope in waiting. Everything we wait for, every moment we wait with confident anticipation enlarges our soul. The longer we wait the larger we become.

And we are not called to do it alone.

Meanwhile…

During the waiting, when time seems long and nothing is happening. When we don’t see any fruit from the labor, no new birth on the horizon. When we come to the end of ourselves and can’t find the words to pray anymore.

The moment we are on the verge of giving up, Holy Spirit is there to help. Maybe the enlarging of our souls comes the second we raise our hands to Him and find comfort in having no words at all.

Oh, sweet brothers and sisters, do you see it? Can you feel hope rising?

God knows us better than we know ourselves. He tenderly looks at our pregnant condition and keeps us right in the middle of His presence. This is our ultimate hope. And it will never disappoint.

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:5 NLT

Every detail, every single thing we’re waiting for is wrapped in His arms. The hard relationship, the wayward child… the thing you continue to pray for… and the very thing you’ve given up on…

God is working all of it into something good (Romans 8:28). This we can expect with great confidence. In this we hope.

Jesus, in Your house are many rooms and You have gone to prepare a place just for me. The waiting is long and I’m sorry for the times I’ve given in… given up. Renew my hope, restore my expectation, enlarge my soul. I want to hope in You, to let go of words and trust You know my condition… my heart. Keep me in Your presence until the day all the good You are working comes to fulfillment. In Jesus name, Amen.

[Feature Image Photo on blog by Liane Metzler on Unsplash]

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