Romans 15:3, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope”
What does the word hope mean to you? Many times we hope for a promotion, or we hope that everything will turn out all right; or if you are in school or college you hope for good grades. We hope for this and we hope for that. The dictionary defines hope this way: (1) To cherish a desire with expectation of fulfillment; (2) To hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment; (3) Someone or something on which hopes are centered.
I will begin this devotional with a true illustration that speaks about hope regarding sixth graders in a school in New York. Millionaire Eugene Lang was asked to speak to a class of sixth graders from East Harlem, New York. What could he say to inspire these young students, most of who would drop out of school? Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. Stay in school, he admonished, and I will help pay the college tuition for every one of you.
That was a turning point. For the first time in their lives, these students had hope. One student said I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling. Nearly 90 percent of the class he spoke to that day went on to graduate from high school. However, there is another side to this. No matter how tragic our lives may be, no matter if we are given to depression and despair rather than happiness and joy, we are never left hopeless.
My beloved, life isn’t a string of accidental circumstances. God is in control and waiting with His love, mercy and grace, which are never ending. The misery of the people of Jerusalem amid the details of wholesale slaughter and devastation as the city was overrun, the author inserted mankind’s best hope and for a reason to go on, God’s Great Love. To counter the affliction and sadness, the writer spoke of God’s compassion, His faithfulness, His goodness, and His salvation (Lamentations 3:22-26). No matter what we might be suffering, we can be sure that God will never leave us hopeless.
At one time hopelessness, sadness and sorrow have affected each of us in varying degrees. An embittered man once said, don’t try to convert me and don’t pray for me. When I die, the only place I’ll go is six feet under.” That man needed hope. People like him who are ready to give up can find it and maybe you’re one of those individuals. My beloved, it’s only a prayer away. We’re all touched by tragedies, accidents, illnesses, family breakups, economic recession and financial woes. Regardless of our own optimistic tendencies, sorrow visits all of us at one time or another and is no respecter of location, age and race.
I’m reminded of the tragedy of Roni Bowers, who died with her daughter Charity when her plane was shot down over the jungles of Peru, a situation that propelled her story into the international spotlight. Her death filled many people with inexpressive sorrow, but there was something else, HOPE. Her husband had the confident expectation that he would see his wife again in heaven. What happened after her death demonstrates that the Christian faith works.
Her husband, Jim Bowers, had spoken about the peace God has given him. He has testified that this kind of HOPE has allowed him to continue on in the midst of the unspeakable pain that is ever present in his life. The apostle Paul said that our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory, which shall be revealed (Romans 8:18) and in Romans 15:13 he wrote, “”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.
I submit to you that Jim Bowers had that HOPE, which comes only from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My beloved, no one is hopeless whose HOPE is in Lord and we who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior base our hope on one of history’s best-documented events … His bodily resurrection. He gives a sure basis for our hope for He has promised to return to earth to take us to our eternal home (John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). Until then, there is help through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5). Moreover, when we trust and obey, our confidence in Him grows, and HOPE triumphs over dread and despair. If Christ lives in your heart, you have a living hope that can never be taken away.
(1) Where is your hope centered today?
(2) If Christ lives in your heart, you have a living hope!
(3) And that hope, my beloved, makes life worth living.
No one is hopeless whose hope is in God.