By Brooke Holt
“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).
Do you know someone who abounds in hope? This would be someone for whom life has not been easy and bountiful but someone who has faced incredible hardship, has endured, and now demonstrates a hope that surpasses understanding. For me, this person was a Hospice patient. This beautiful woman was bed-ridden and knew there was no earthly way for her physical healing. Nevertheless, she knew full healing was getting nearer and nearer, and she looked forward to the day when she would see her Savior face to face.
As that day drew close, she delighted in the family that surrounded her. She prayed for them, laughed with them, and even ministered to me – the one that was there to serve her. Despite her physical pain and struggles, this sweet lady abounded in hope, and it was contagious. I found myself delighting in daily gifts, in people, and especially in this precious woman God brought into my life. Her hope and joy didn’t make sense on an earthly level, but it did on the eternal level. Though she would soon leave her friends and family, she trusted and hoped that she would then encounter her greatest love – Jesus.
In this passage to the Romans, Paul prays that you would be filled with joy and hope just as my Hospice patient was (and is because she has been enjoying the heavenly realms for many years now). Paul prays that you, too, would experience these gifts through believing and trusting in Jesus. He knew that only in Jesus will you find a hope that can sustain you in the most challenging times: physical pain, loss, and even death. Paul also knew that you could experience true joy through the work of the Holy Spirit. Because he experienced hope, joy, and peace while in incredibly challenging earthly situations, Paul confidently prayed these powerful prayers in every circumstance.
Friends, no matter what is happening in your lives this Advent season, there is always room for hope. Our Messiah came to show you the way to the Father. Through him, you can have peace, forgiveness of sin, and eternal security. Much pain exists in this world, but Advent pushes you to look beyond the temporary pain to the eternal joy and peace that can fill you in the hardest times and that awaits you in the new heavens and the new earth.
How do you need to experience this hope today? Will you bring the fullness of that need to Jesus? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
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