Sleep on This: Biblical hope (April 21)
Good evening, friend!
This week, we are basking in one of the great biblical ideas: hope! In 1 Corinthians 13:13, the Apostle Paul lists the supreme Triumvirate of Christian qualities: faith, hope, and love. Of course, “Love” ends up being the number one draft pick, but hope is right up there! And who couldn’t use more hope right now?
We’ve been luxuriating in Romans 5:3-5 for many days. Have you memorized it yet? Get to it!
… we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (NRSV)
Our amazing God is able to take our sufferings and, through a series of miraculous transformations, bring us to hope. But I wonder if you noticed how this hope…biblical hope…is different from the hope the rest of the world offers? In fact, it’s polar opposite!
When we say, “I hope this happens,” it is the same as expressing a wish, isn’t it? If the idea of blowing out birthday candles on a cake weren’t so horrifying in this present moment, THAT is what would come to mind to describe worldly hope. “Golly…I hope…I WISH…something great will happen.”
But biblical hope is so much more! Biblical hope is not a wish…it is a confident expectation! Based upon what? The character of God! We have a hope that “does not disappoint us” because we have a God who has proven himself faithful again and again. Our hope is more than “fingers crossed” because it is grounded in the goodness and reliability of our Heavenly Father.
Many years ago we saved up for a trip to Italy. We prepared our kids by talking about Italy, reading books together and showing them pictures of the sites we would see. (Cooper couldn’t wait to see Michelangelo’s David!) For months, Rachel and Cooper bubbled with excitement about a trip they had not yet taken. In fact, Rachel tells me that the night before we left, she could not sleep because she was “painfully excited” to see Venice!
We hadn’t even arrived, but they were certain we would. Why? Because their father told them they would, and they trusted me. They were confidently expectant…and excited…about a future that had not yet arrived, because they believed their Daddy when he said he would take them to Italy.
That is an image of biblical hope. We trust in a future we cannot see because we know that we have a trustworthy Heavenly Father who will take us there. We have a hope for a future we do not yet possess… a hope that “….does not disappoint us” …because of the Holy Spirit we possess, God’s love “poured into our hearts.” (Go back and look at the last line of our verse.)
Dear Lord, as I lay me down to sleep, would you “pour your love into” my heart? Would you fill me anew with your Holy Spirit? Would you remind me of your never-ending faithfulness which I have seen…and in that certainty, would you give me hope for the future I do not yet see? Amen.