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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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.”—Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Hope is a concept we often refer to as human beings. Regardless of cultural heritage or personality, every person has hoped for something at least once before—whether it be a dog, a new car, or simply a good day. However, our understanding of hope has become increasingly narrow because of our frequent use of the term. John Piper once analyzed and broke down the concept of hope into three parts: “A desire for something good in the future, the thing in the future that we desire, and the basis or reason for thinking that our desire may indeed be fulfilled.” In other words, we view hope as being each a mindset we choose, an object we wish for, and the reason for something being possible.
Knowing this, we can now look at today’s verse and understand the beauty of Paul’s description of God as “the God of hope.” Our God encompasses everything hope has to offer. He is the giver of hope, the reason we can hope, and hope itself! The amazing news doesn’t end there! Within Romans 15:13, we also see Paul give what seems like an equation for being filled to the point of overflow with God’s hope. He says that as we trust God, He will fill us with joy and peace, and the Holy Spirit will work within us. As a result, we will overflow with hope!
The nativity story provides us with beautiful examples of this pattern. The angels who announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds proclaimed, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10 NIV), and being filled with such joy and peace themselves, sang praises to God in the night sky. This not only filled the shepherds with joy and peace, but it also motivated them to seek Jesus as they trusted the message they heard, resulting in them eagerly spreading the word and praising God.
A few days after Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary took Him to the temple to be consecrated before the Lord. At the temple, they met Simeon and Anna—two righteous and devout followers of God who constantly served Him in the temple. They trusted the Holy Spirit, who convicted them of Jesus being the Messiah, and resultantly were filled with so much peace and joy that they worshipped and testified verbally (Luke 2:22-38).
Additionally, Matthew’s account speaks about the magi who traveled from the east, most likely an 800 to 900-mile journey, to see and bless the Messiah with their gifts and praise. Matthew 2:10 (NIV) asserts that “when they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” In the process of trusting God and seeking Christ, they followed the Holy Spirit’s direction and were filled with joy and peace. Upon arriving at Mary and Joseph’s house, they showered Jesus with expensive gifts and bowed down in praise before the young child.
Wow, God’s Word never ceases to amaze me! After seeing the example of those characters in the nativity story, we can better understand Paul’s exclamation in Romans 15:13. The presence of Jesus in our lives fills us with peace and joy, and as we trust Him and lean into the Holy Spirit’s power, the hope God so faithfully supplies us with will overflow through our praise and service! Thank you, Lord, for truly being “the God of hope,” filling us with joy and peace, today and every day, as we trust in you! May we therefore, in the words of Hebrews 10:23 (NIV), “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.