WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JULY 19, 2021
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Romans 8:24-25 where the Bible says,
24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
HOPE IN CHRIST – ENDURING POWER TO OVERCOME LIFE’S OBSTACLES!
Would you agree that hopeful people tend to be more positive about facing the challenges of the day than others? Hope has a way of helping us through difficult moments in our lives. You might say that there’s real power in hope. But there’s a danger in false hopes too. In fact, one of the growing temptations today is the unbridled hope in our technology, in our money, and in our government to solve our “big” problems. In our lesson for today, the Apostle Paul talks about the power of hope, but it is the power of hope rooted in the person and the work of Jesus alone. In that hope there is great blessing for humanity.
In John Maxwell’s book, Think on These Things, he talks about the basic power of hope.
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.
Even a “hope against hope” spirit can get us through the most difficult of times. Incredible things have been done by humanity and incredible things endured for the sake of humanity, just with the power of hope.
But as powerful as that might be, it’s merely a glimpse of the saving hope which Paul speaks of 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 anything the best of humanity has to offer. Hope in technology, wealth, power, status, or even in the most powerful government policy is nothing compared to the enduring hope that comes by faith in Jesus Christ. This hope is rooted in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This hope is secured by His service, sacrifice, and redemption which reconciles sinful, broken men and women like ourselves back to God. That persevering hope breeds an enduring, hope-filled power to face down whatever life throws our way. And that’s not just “hopeful thinking” either! It’s a 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, His future is our future; Christ’s life is our life; Christ’s hope is our hope.
I love this quote about our hope in God. Rev. John Piper says,
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 can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.
Paul reminds us that amidst the challenges of the day, Christians keep their eyes focused on Christ, on His promises, on the blessings of His Baptism, and on the promises of His Supper. Now is a time of certainty, even when we don’t see it clearly with our own eyes. Now is a time for confidence, even amidst our fears. Now is a time to hope in Christ in all circumstances, as we wait patiently for what is sure to come.
PRAYER – Dear Lord, life is tough sometimes this side of heaven. Give us the hope that comes by grace through faith in what You have done for us. Give us confidence in You in all things so that we might not only face life’s challenges, but serve others in the midst of them in Your Name, always in and with hope. AMEN.
 John Maxwell, Think on These Things (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1979, 1999); cited from https://lifecoach4god.life/2014/02/26/john-maxwells-acronym-for-h-o-p-e/