Pete Greig: Hope in a time of hype

But the Lord watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.
We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone.

Psalm 33:18-22

Today I am reflecting on one of the great apostolic prayers in the Bible, in which Paul identifies hope as the hallmark of God and his people.

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

To know God is to know hope. His will for us, according to the apostle Paul, is fullness of joy, fullness of peace and so much hope that it overflows from our lives into everyone we meet. They walk away from spending time with us feeling brighter, more confident, less worried. How on earth is this possible, especially right now when the world is so bleak and our own personal circumstances are so incredibly difficult? Well, it’s not about positive-thinking. The apostle Paul says that we receive peace and joy by trusting God, and we receive hope by being filled with the power of his Holy Spirit. In what areas of my life do I lack peace and joy? And could it be because I am struggling to trust God in these areas?

Ask
Admitting to God the places in which I find it hard to trust him, I begin to imagine what His best for me might look like in these areas. I listen for any words or promises He might want to speak into my fear.

Pause and pray

I take time now to pray for those I know whose situation seems desperate, asking the Lord to show me any practical ways in which I might share with them a little of His hope this week.

Pause and pray

Yield
As I return to the passage, I open my ears to hear Your Word, and my heart to yield to Your will once again.

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

I love this idea of being a hope-dispenser at such a hopeless time when there are so many desperate people all around. And yet of course I am not immune to all the despair, the heartbreak and the real problems of the world. I often feel hopeless, but God does not. And so I take a little time now asking him to fill me afresh, that I might ‘overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’

Pause and pray

Prayer of Yielding
At this chaotic time I receive the balm of Jesus’ promise in John 14, choosing to trust him in this life and also in the one to come:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled,’ says Jesus. ‘You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, that you also may be where I am.’ (John 14:1-3)

Closing Prayer
Father, help me to live this day to the full,
being true to You, in every way.
Jesus, help me to give myself away to others,
being kind to everyone I meet.
Spirit, help me to love the lost,
proclaiming Christ in all I do and say.
Amen.

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