‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.’
I think it’s pretty important to clarify a few things at the beginning of this series on hope. Hope in this context, is not the same as the behavior we describe as ‘being hopeful’.
If someone talks about being hopeful that something will or won’t happen, it is usually said as wishful thinking, in the same vein as crossing your fingers or wishing someone good luck . Neither crossed fingers, nor good luck wishes, tend to get us through the really terrible things.
Hope, as described in the bible, is something that is objective fact rather than subjective feelings or thoughts.
I write this feeling pretty wretched. It’s the end of the day and I am tired. No one could describe me as optimistic, cheerful or anything but sad if they were sitting with me at this moment. I am finding life challenging. My emotions, feelings and thoughts wear me out and exhaust me. I don’t want to feel the things I feel, and I would really like to feel some things which are eluding me at present.
It would be beyond my capabilities to manufacture hope in my situation. If I tried to ‘feel hopeful’ I’d simply give up. It would be too difficult. It wouldn’t be real.
What is totally freeing and life giving is that God knows that. He doesn’t expect that of me. He doesn’t require pretend happiness. He’s ok with my ‘glass fairly empty approach’ today, because He will fill me with joy and peace, and because of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life I actually do abound in hope.
I do have hope. Despite all that has happened. Despite all that is happening.
It is easy to forget that we don’t have to do this alone. When I try to, I quickly flounder and I need to remember ask God for the filling. He is not intrusive. He won’t push in where he’s not invited.
So can I encourage you today, that as you live out your weakness, your difficult situations and heartbreaking realities, you also choose to open yourself to God’s spirit.
I know it sounds crazy and irrational, but I also know that it has been my real lived experience for these past months.
So today, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.