Overflowing with Hope
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
Samuel Johnson, the English writer and critic once said, “He who expects much will often be disappointed.” He was right, of course, from a human standpoint. We all journey through the valley of broken promises, misplaced trust, and shattered dreams.
Because people are fickle and life really does stink sometimes, we may make the mistake of transferring our human experience into the spiritual realm. We don’t expect much from God because, after all, what if our expectations are too high?
The apostle Paul addressed that concern in his letter to the persecuted members of the church in Rome. He assured them that no matter how difficult their circumstances, they could “overflow with hope” because nothing could take God’s joy and peace from them. Their eternal destiny was secure. God would not disappoint them.
Peter gave similar counsel to other first-century Christians scattered throughout the Roman Empire. He told them to praise God even though they were experiencing all kinds of trials because “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”(1 Peter 1:3–5).
Biblical hope isn’t linked to circumstances; it’s connected to the unchanging character of God and the certainty that his promises will be fulfilled. How do we know? First, we look back to what God has done—particularly the victory over sin and death accomplished through Jesus’s death and resurrection. Second, we relish the blessings we experience each day: the power and presence of the Holy Spirit as well as the joy and peace available to us as we wait for God to complete his work in us. Third, we look forward to our eternal inheritance—life in heaven forever with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
On earth, yes, we will experience many disappointments. But as Paul told the Christians in Rome, nothing can thwart God’s plans for us or separate us from his love (Romans 8:28–39). If we remain focused on those certainties, our hearts will “overflow with hope.”
Is your hope rooted in those truths?
Read Romans 8:28–39. What does Paul say about God’s character and purposes in this passage? Which of these truths encourages you most? Why?
Read Romans 15:4. What do you see as the connection between reading Scripture and hope?
Read Psalm 62. David wrote this psalm during a difficult time. What reasons does he give for putting his hope in God?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is included in Restore the Hope: Devotions for Lent and Easter.