“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.” (Romans 15:13)
Hope surges through Scripture in the way sparkling river water conveys life to parched places. Streaming through the Word in a recurring theme, hope brims over the riverbanks and is sourced in the “God of hope” who understands our deepest needs.
Mindful that hope easily evaporates and that we need a continual refilling, God reminds us, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). God intends all of Scripture, even the obscure portions, to provide us with hope. To wade into the Word is to be immersed in hope, to be equipped to look ahead with confident expectation.
When we lack direction, when uncertainty is the prevailing color on our wheel, we have the hope that Christ will direct us perfectly. As the good Shepherd, we can trust with certainty that we shall not want for guidance or protection along the way.
When our prayers remain unanswered, when it feels as if we are hitting brick walls head on, God calls us to hope in him, to expect that he is at work. In the Old Testament we read, “Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O LORD our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things” (Jeremiah 14:22). Our hope never lies with our current circumstances or our future aspirations. We place our hope in God who does all things well.
For all the times life slams us into a difficult corner, God strengthens our hearts with hope, and makes a way for us to endure. In that confinement we may relate to Paul when he wrote, “Indeed we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10).
The God of the universe has proven himself faithful time and time again. On the cross he granted us the incomparable hope of eternal life. While we make our way on earth, we can confidently expect him to be sufficient for every step of the way.
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7)
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell