“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 (NKJV)
The Romans verse above begins wonderfully with “the God of hope”. In these times it can be all too easy to despair, but God is not the God of despair or discouragement. He is the God of hope and He has great plans for you. Like any parent, He is excited to give generous gifts to His kids.
Among the gifts He has for us, the verse continues, are joy and peace. We can all use calm and serenity and this is ours “in believing”. This means that our faith is switched on. Romans continues that we “may abound in hope”. Abound is a big word that evokes images of leaping antelope - who wouldn’t want to be filled with a hope that makes them skip and dance? This is ours because the “power of the Holy Spirit” is in you generating hope.
There are stories in the Bible that seem hopeless before God got involved. One of these stories is that of Hagar in Genesis. An Egyptian slave, she cannot have had an easy start in life. She was purchased by Abraham, a very wealthy man and things went well for a while as part of his household. Things start to go badly when Sarah, Abraham’s wife gets tired of waiting for the promised son to arrive and gives Hagar to Abraham as a second wife. Hagar has a son, Ishmael by Abraham but he is not the son and heir God promised. Sarah goes on to have a son, Isaac in her old age and her relationship with Hagar disintegrates. Eventually Hagar and her son are sent out into the wilderness with a little water, which soon runs out. We find her out in the hot sun, awaiting their deaths: she is without hope. God speaks to Hagar about the future He has planned for Ishmael and “then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.” (Genesis 21:19a)
We can connect with the same God who helped Hagar in her impossible situation and receive hope. The interesting thing is that the well was there all along, she just couldn’t see it. We can be blinded by discouragement, despair and depression too. Paul tells us that hope is a helmet that protects our mind from these things that the enemy wants to blind us with (Ephesians 6:17). Jesus is the light of the world and He sets us free to have a vision for the future.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were blinded by discouragement and depression. Jesus had died and then, even though the women said He’d returned to life, He had disappeared. They walked with Jesus for 7 miles without recognizing Him. Then God lifted the darkness within them. (Luke 24:13-35) Things changed from information to revelation within them and God can do this for us too.
Romans 4:18 tells us that Abraham hoped, believing God’s promise of a son even when all the evidence said it wouldn’t happen. Faith does not mean being in denial about impossible circumstances but knowing that God can do the impossible. Standing on God’s promises activates the Holy Spirit within us. You can invite God into your life, if you haven’t already, or even if you feel like you are currently in darkness and He promises to come in and bring hope (Romans 10:9).
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
- Share any situations you have seen that seemed impossible before God got involved.
- What are some of God’s promises that you can stand on when you don’t know what is happening (you are feeling like you’re in darkness)?
- The helmet of hope is a protective piece in the armour of God: how can the helmet of hope protect you this week?
- As our future is full of hope in God, what next steps can we take in our walk to move closer to the God of Hope?
- What are some things we can practically do to bring hope to those around us in these challenging times?
- If someone asked you how to invite the God of hope into their life, what would you say? It can be helpful to keep our salvation prayer in your phone to share with people.