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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”—Ephesians 2:12 (NKJV)
In one of my all-time favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption, there’s a memorable scene that takes place right after the main character, Andy Dufresne, returns from a two-week stint in solitary confinement. His cell mates wonder how he survived the miserable ordeal, but much to their surprise, Dufresne enthusiastically points out that while his jailors restricted his freedom of movement, they couldn’t limit his imagination or touch the places within him that gave him hope.
In response, Red, his companion and life-long inmate, warns him: “Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” After his notorious prison break later in the movie; however, Dufresne replies to his paroled friend in a letter: “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
There’s a lot of truth to that statement, but only when placed in the context of God’s Word. In Romans 5, Paul reminds us how tribulations cultivate perseverance, character, and hope within us—and the apostle had firsthand experience with suffering and even imprisonment! He also encourages us by pointing out that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5 NKJV).
Notice the specificity of Paul’s counsel: Hope isn’t a vague idea we have to search for, but rather it’s firmly implanted within our hearts where God’s love dwells. And as today’s verse illustrates, we have no reason to hope at all without Christ because He’s our only promise of a brighter future.
Judging by the state of the world today, it can be easy to lose hope, even for Christians. But as Martin Luther King, Jr. so wisely said: “We must accept infinite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
No matter how dark the world is around us or how much suffering we may endure, we can always find reason to hope in Jesus. Because one day when He returns to right every wrong in this world, the Bible says “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 NKJV). Now that’s a promise worth hoping for!
DIG: What is your source of hope in this world? Is it based on something earthly or eternal in nature?
DISCOVER: Do a brief study of verses in the Bible that contain the word “hope.” What does biblical hope look like and where can we find it?
DISPLAY: If you are facing circumstances that are depleting you of hope, ask God to fill you afresh with His love through the Holy Spirit and to give you a renewed sense of confidence in all that He is doing in your life.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.