Saturday, December 06, 2008

Advent Week One: Hope Day Six

Romans 5:2-6
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 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. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

I hope I’ll lose weight this year. I hope the winter is not too harsh. I hope I find a better job. This is the way we normally use the word hope, a wish or desire for something that may, or may not, happen. This is not the kind of hope the Apostle Paul was writing about in his letter to the Romans. The hope of which he speaks, and the hope we read, speak and pray about during this first week of Advent is a sure and certain hope.

The letter O in O.A.S.I.S. stands for “Offer Hope.” In a world of hopelessness, we long to share the glorious hope we have in our Lord Jesus Christ. A question to ponder is, “Just how confident and joyful is my own hope of sharing God’s glory?” Can we rejoice in troubles, knowing that as we press on we grow in endurance and our character is strengthened?

Do you know someone who is full of hope, in spite of difficulty or pain? Someone who has walked with God through trials and has developed endurance such that they are able to share hope no matter what life brings? As we mature in our faith, there is a place of confident assurance that comes, a hope that says “Even if God kills me, I will trust in Him...He also will be my salvation” (Job 13:15-16).

Hope in earthly things, and even in people, often disappoints us. Paul reminds us that if our hope is in God we will not be disappointed. This does not mean that nothing bad can happen. In the words of an old hymn, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.” We know how dearly God loves us because at just the right time God sent Christ to us. What wonderful hope we have to offer as we share Christ with the world!

Prayer: My hope is in you, Lord Jesus Christ! I ask for grace to endure and to mature in the sure and certain hope I have in you!.


much2ponder said...

I love that...HOPE! Even hope itself is a pretty amazing gift offered to us. God is so good.

LoieJ said...

That word HOPE, in the Bible has been a stumbling block to me. I always need a reminder of what it really means in the Biblical context. I found it a difficult word when used repeatedly at the funeral of three friends who died. Their faith tradition has a different basis and after life than we do so I really had a hard time with the word HOPE there.