Daily Office Readings for Friday of Proper 29: Year 2
“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” (Romans 15: 13)
I love this verse of Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome. It is an optional dismissal for Evening Prayer on page 76 in the Book of Common Prayer. I like it because it really explains the Christian hope.
We hope for what God can do for us, and while such a hope is not seen, it is understood that it will be better than we can ask or imagine. Paul said in Chapter 8 of this letter to the Romans, “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?” (Romans 8:15) Moses did not know what God was going to do when the Israelites were positioned against the sea and Egyptians were coming down on them. They had unseen hope, or at least Moses did.
Another biblical example of hope unseen comes from Second Kings where Elisha instructs Naaman to wash in a certain way and in a certain place. Elisha did not come to personally see Naaman but rather sent out his servant to tell him what to do. Naaman was incensed. “ But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy” (2nd Kings 5:11). In the end Naaman did what he was told and was healed. But the point I am trying to make is that we cannot have it in our head how, or what, God is going to do, or even who God is going to do it through. Our hope must be wide open and unconditional.
Unseen hope is the only real hope. We must trust God and just hope for God’s will for us to be done. And we must hope in patience. God is not pressured by time. Paul says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:25)
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we must never give up on hope. We can’t describe what the other side of hope looks like because we are not there yet. But we should literally hope for the best. And then, just leave it to God who always makes the best decision for us because God really does love us.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John