"Hope in Christ: Power to Overcome Life's Obstacles "
July 24, 2017
Romans 8:24-25 - For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
In John Maxwell's book, Think on These Things, he answers the question, "What does hope do for mankind?" Ready, here's what he said: hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens while bitterness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. Hope listens for answers when no one is talking. Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping. Hope endures hardship when no one is caring. Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing. Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging. Hope dares to give when no one is sharing. Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.
Pretty powerful stuff, wouldn't you agree? There have been incredible things done in humanity, for humanity, just with the power of human hope.
But that's not even a glimpse of what Paul is talking about here in Romans 8. He's talking about a hope that is rooted in something more powerful, more enduring, more encouraging, and more real than all the best that sinful humanity has to offer. He's talking about a hope that is rooted in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's right. It's a hope that is rooted in the Son of God, who didn't come to wow us with His power and might. Better, He came to serve, to sacrifice, to redeem, and even reconcile us -- sinful, broken men and women like ourselves -- back to Himself. And that kind of persevering love breeds a hope that can handle whatever life throws our way.
Just think about it. When the Son of God endures not only the brokenness of our world but the eternal damnation of our sin; when the Savior Jesus overcomes the obstacles of our hatred, our violence, and our greed; when Jesus overcomes all of that and gives us His forgiveness, life, and salvation as a gift of Grace through faith -- that's not just hopeful thinking; that's hope that can change our lives because it is rooted in the reality that God has already made a way forward for you and me in Jesus Christ. To the believer in Jesus, Christ's future is our future; Christ's life is our life; and Christ's hope is our hope.
I love this quote about hope, God's hope, from Rev. John Piper. He says this: "Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don't. You are in good company ... You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you and I can ever conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope."
You see, above all, God has a Word of His promise. He's got a Baptism of His grace and a Supper that holds you through life's ups and downs. So hope in Christ. It's a hope that can see you forward and see you through because the Hope-Giver Himself, Jesus Christ, is with you always.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, life is tough sometimes this side of heaven. Give us the hope that comes through faith in what You have accomplished for us so that we might not only face life's trials, but serve others in Your Name, until our hope in You becomes our reality with You, forever. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries