“Now 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.” (Romans 15:13)
Now there are two words in this verse that really stick out to me, and that is because they are actually the same word just mentioned twice: hope. Hope, I have come to realize, is a thing that you either have or don’t have and, in most cases, one’s life clearly shows which is true. In my experience, I have either been hopeful or hopeless and there was never really an in-between. I grew up as a very positive thinker. I expected the best from people, always looking on the brighter side of life. As I became older, that hope diminished little by little. You know, you see the bad in the world, you get let down, and you wait and wait to receive an answer to your question to no avail. The reality of this broken world beats down on the hopeful people.
I know that I’ve been there, at the point where hope seems so unattainable, where indifference takes over and faith is diminished. Not only does that place stink, but also it is so unfruitful. No grapes, no strawberries, no tangerines. No fruit! At least, there’s not any good-tasting fruit, nothing sweet. And it makes so much more sense to understand how all of these connect and work together after looking at this verse. God is the God of hope, and the way that we are able to ABOUND in hope is by allowing His Holy Spirit to fill us with “all joy and peace in believing.”
I can’t help but think about the woman in the Bible suffering from chronic bleeding. She was truly in a hopeless situation. This was something that would not stop and would not go away. I think one of the hardest things about having her condition must have been how obvious it was to other people. Bleeding was unclean, detestable, and unapproachable, so she was always in a state where she was seen as unclean, detestable, and unapproachable. Yet, she had so much hope in the presence of Jesus. She believed that if only she could touch the hem of his garment, she would be healed. What I love about that story is that Jesus tells her that it is because of her faith that she was healed. She had hope and believed.
I recently saw an acronym that someone came up with for the word “hope” and it’s one of the most accurate descriptions of that word I have ever seen. It goes like this:
Joy and peace comes in knowing that we have hope in Jesus. Even though life gets slippery and frustrating and confusing, we can hold onto the promises of our God, the God of hope.