Romans 15:12-14 (NRSV)
12 and again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse shall come,
the one who rises to rule the Gentiles;
in him the Gentiles shall hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
A little over a year ago, my son ended up in the hospital in the midst of an overwhelming despair. In spite of having so many advantages in his life, the darkness overtook him. He had no hope. Desperate to help him, I prayed over and over that the God of hope would fill him with joy and peace. He survived his dark night, but still struggles. He is not so much hopeless anymore as someone who gets overwhelmed from time to time. Joy and peace allude him from time to time, but hope has befriended him. He has hope for the future.
I meet many people who have lost hope. They have lost hope in their political representatives, they have lost hope in the economy, they have lost hope in their employer, or they have lost hope in their family. There seem to be so many ways to lose hope. But, each of these forms of hope are an illusion. Jesus pointed this out to his disciples, stones will be overturned, people will fail us, systems will fail, and we will fail ourselves. But, one thing remains steadfast, and that is Jesus will come to restore the creation. In this we can find hope. In this, we can find joy and peace.
When I am burned out by the pain and suffering of the world I live and work in, I reflect on the future hope of a new heaven and earth. This hope, provided by the Holy Spirit, calms my soul, and gives me joy. May you, too abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.