- originally published on April 1, 2015 -
It’s the week leading up to Easter, and I have been looking through the devotion book that our church made for the season of lent. Different members wrote devotions that talk about God’s love – something that is so worth studying and thinking about in this season, and particularly during this time in our world. I unfortunately cannot publish the devotions that other people wrote (without permission), but I decided to transfer mine to the blog. I think I needed the reminder today. Sometimes we say and write things in the flow of the moment, and then the meaning of those words is tossed out the window during a bad day or moment of doubt. I am sharing this post for myself, and for anyone who has experienced similar experiences in what it means to have hope.
God’s Love and Our Hope
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25
During these past few years, I have experienced God’s love in the reality of what it means to hope. As someone who loves to dream and imagine new possibilities, I became discouraged during a season of what seemed like failure. I wanted to see and experience the things that I hoped for, but was stuck in a pattern of feeling the loss, loneliness, or shame in my life and the lives of those around me. It was during this time that the gospel became so powerful to me.
God’s love is present in the very reality of what it means to hope. We have been saved by the cross, and are eagerly anticipating the day when we will feel the complete joy of being reunited with our Lord. But here and now, we have trials and seasons when we struggle with the unknown, when we cannot see what is ahead. I have been learning that the very thing that makes hope beautiful is that it is unseen. We have the joy of trusting in a loving God who will not abandon us. He will go before us, and even when we cannot see, His word to us will light the way, one day at a time. We can rejoice and be confident in hope because “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us,” (Romans 5:5). Our God is more powerful than death. He is victorious, and He is victorious in us.
The devotion closed with a prayer, but I’m going to close with one other thought. Today I found some photos that were taken on a trip to visit friends in Germany two years ago. I remember that, while on this trip, I was so stressed and worried about the unknown I was going to face when I got home – things that I still worry about on and off today. But the crazy thing is, when I saw these photos, I remembered how worried I was, and I started to think about the time that has passed since then. Life has been completely different than I ever would have planned. There are things that I thought I would have done by now that I haven’t, and there are things that have happened that I couldn’t have dreamed up for anything. I am so blessed and thankful that God is in control of time, even when it’s hard. This photo – taken in the Bavarian Alps — reminded me of stillness, patience, and restoration. Three words that have painted my life time and time again.
“He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul.” – from Psalm 23