May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15: 13

 

I wonder what hope would look like if it could be packaged in a bottle so that it was available for purchase? It might be bright and shiny with some sparkles and glitter mixed in, or perhaps in would be frothy and foamy and swirl about like ocean waves inside of the glass. The packaging itself should be very special. It needs to speak of the importance and the rarity of the contents. I think that it would probably command a steep price, and it would be hard to keep on the shelves of the shops that were fortunate enough to secure the rights to sell it. Everyone desires to be hopeful, and most of us seek out its comfort and its courage in our own ways. Still, in these days and in this world it is becoming scarce and may even be on its way to that list where things facing extinction are enshrined.

 

Yet, this lost cause, this rare gem of the human spirit is as readily available as is the air that we breathe. It has existed from a place in the past that precedes the creation of this world, and hopefulness is a quality that is granted without cost to anyone who has the faith to believe in its giver. Hope is as simple as the wants and needs of a newborn baby, and it is an expression of the complexity of the nature of God, Himself. As humans we are often challenged by the fact that nothing that we do, plan, or design can bring true and lasting hope. It eludes our grasp, and the harder we try to hold onto it, the more slippery it becomes. However, when we let loose our grip so that it rests gently and peacefully in the fingers of our hearts, hope swells and grows in ways that are magical in their capacity to meet the needs that we personally possess.

 

This desirable state of mind that is called hopefulness is produced through the faith that leads to deep trust in Christ. As Paul tells us it is granted to us and it is maintained through the infinite and unstoppable power of the Holy Spirit. It comes about within us as we immerse our lives in the reality that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherein all who believe are made right in the eyes of the only one who actually matters, that is God. The real hope that comes from knowing Christ is not conditional upon earthly situations, people, or events. It was birthed among us in the miracle of Advent, it gained a fleshly telling in Jesus’ life, was brought to culminating victory on a cross with its empty tomb, and dwells among us today in the lives of people who are filled with Christ’s Spirit. Hope is here. It is more magnificent than any jewel or work of art. Hope is gained through knowing Christ deeply, and its joy and peace are tangible signs of the presence of Christ within the hearts and the minds of His people.