The God of Hope



I have always thought it strange that the beginning of the new year comes at such a dreary time of year (at least in the southeastern US). It seems to me that a new year should begin in the spring, maybe, as the “newness” is actually happening, instead of in the middle of the cold dark winter, when there is no evidence whatsoever of the glory to come. But we know from experience that spring is coming, don’t we? Every year like clockwork, the trees bud and the flowers bloom. In spite of how it looks out my window, I never question the eventual return of the green.

What if we trusted God’s renewal as much as we take for granted the changing of the seasons? After all, God specializes in bringing life out of circumstances that appear utterly impossible: infertility, slavery, defeat, failure, sin, death. The Messiah, hope of the world, dead in another man’s tomb. And yet…

Think of Sarah, Manoah’s wife, Hannah, Elizabeth, and Mary. Against all odds, each becomes a mother. Remember the Red Sea, a ram caught in the bushes, a den of lions, invisible armies, the belly of the whale, fire from the sky. If you want to stir hope in your own heart, sit down and make a list of the salvation miracles and resurrected hopes in the Bible. Ask God to open your eyes to the great things He has done in your own life. Remember your Ebenezer stones: “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:12)

Abraham knew what it was to hope, and wait, and wonder if he would ever see the promises of God fulfilled. Listen to different translations of Romans 4:18:

“Against all hope, Abram in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him…” (NIV)

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abram kept hoping… (NLT)

In hope he believed against hope… (ESV)

Hoping in spite of hopeless circumstances, he believed… (ISV)

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding not to live on the basis of what he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. (MSG)

In the same way we rely on spring’s return, we can know from experience that resurrection is coming, that there is reason to hope, even when we cannot find a shred of evidence of the glory to come. As you turn to the new year, remember Who it is at work in Your life, and let hope take hold again. “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)

I am borrowing Paul's prayer for you, and for myself, and for all our loved ones:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory:

to be strengthened with might in the inner man,

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;

that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-

to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;

that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to Him WHO IS ABLE to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generation, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

All Glory Be To Christ- sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne