High Hopes

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, [emphasis added] what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. – Ephesians 1:11-23

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Azaleas outside of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park | Lampe, Missouri | October 2019

We watched the Astros last night in their strong win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Altuve and Brantley hit home runs. Springer led off with a hit. Cole was lights out for 8 full innings. Our hopes are high for another World Series win this year. So are the hopes of those who took Mattress Mac up on his offer to pay for their furniture if “the Astros win it all, like they did in 2017.”

Maybe that’s not really your hope. You may root for another team. Maybe you don’t really care at all who wins the World Series, or any baseball game for that matter. Your hopes may be tied to winning a health battle. You may hope to get your finances all straightened out. Your family may be the focus of your hope. We all have hope of some kind. If we don’t, a part of our soul begins to wither and die.

Morgan Freedman in his role in the movie Shawshank Redemption said, “Hope is a dangerous thing.” Some people subscribe to that theory and stifle their hopes any way they are able. They lower expectations. They give themselves an emotional out. They hope, but they take out insurance of one kind or another.

When it comes to our hope in God, it impossible to get our hopes too high. This is the gift of God that will not disappoint. The Astros may disappoint us. Our family may never be all we wish it would be. We may never conquer our illnesses this side of heaven. But when we hope for the glory of God, and the full joy of his salvation our hopes will be rewarded.

This hope is guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection. It is held safe by the one who has immeasurably great power and might. Ours is a grand inheritance – greater than any World Series ring, bonus check, or clear diagnosis.

I don’t know about you, but I lose sight of that hope from time to time. I let the worries of this world, the impinging challenges of the devil, the world, and my own sinful flesh get in the way. It’s not so much that I lose hope as it is that I lose sight of my true and greatest hope.

For that reason, I look again and again at Jesus on the cross and the empty tomb, and try to imagine what it was like to see him ascend into heaven. I consider his miracles and his loving kindness toward humble people, sinners, and lost souls. I am thankful for that, for in spite of the fact that I lose sight of my hope in him, he never loses sight of me. That sustains my hope – even in my darkest hour – if only I don’t lose sight of it.

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