Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How good of the Lord to have this in the reading when I’m speaking on Hope this morning! The devil indeed does all he can to steal and/or destroy our hope, but our Creator is truly the God of hope. We can indeed have hope when we trust in God, because He sees the end from the beginning and has it all worked out, when we can’t even see to the next corner most of the time, much less around the corner. Hope is essential for the joy and peace we all desire, but that hope needs to be based on more than wishful thinking. That’s why faith is essential. (The Japanese here says “by your faith,” where the NIV says “trust,” but trust is faith with its shoes on.) When we find we are low on hope, we need to strengthen our faith. The way to strengthen our faith is to focus on our Creator and all He has done for us, particularly in Christ Jesus our Lord, and then exercise the faith we already have, however small it might be. Faith is very much like muscle: it needs nutrition and it needs exercise. The nutrition it needs is the Word of God, and the exercise it needs is simply to be applied to our real-life situations. So long as faith remains theoretical it isn’t very strong. It is when it is put to work where the rubber meets the road that it grows and becomes “an oaken staff to lead us on our way,” as the hymn says.
Like many Christians, particularly in America, my faith and hope have been getting a real workout over the past week. Honest elections are one thing, but dishonest ones are something else entirely. As I posted on Facebook yesterday (reposted from Intercessors for America) prayer is the answer for the vast majority of people who are concerned about the current situation. Those who are physically “close to the action,” so to speak, of course need to speak up and testify to what they have witnessed, as many are doing, but they are in the minority. The rest of us need to be praying, doing spiritual warfare, but in hope and faith, not in desperation. God is not inconvenienced by the current state of affairs, He’s using the acts of the enemy, and those deceived by him, to train and purify the Family of God. I am to personally rejoice that God is far smarter and stronger than the devil, not to mention me, and rest, relax, and rejoice in Him. That doesn’t mean I’m to take spiritual warfare lightly. After all, He’s given me a full suit of armor! (Ephesians 6) That said, I’m to be a happy warrior, rejoicing that the outcome is in the hands of my Lord.
Father, thank You for this powerful reminder, and for its timing. May I indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, faithfully doing all that You have for me to do but not being anxious about a bit of it. May I not be distracted by things like the election and so fail to do what You have for me closer to home. May Your name be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!