“For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?” Romans 8:24
This past Sunday, Dr. Wood preached on Paul’s belief that experience leads to hope. He reflected that in actuality, for most of us—Paul include—experience should not lead to hope but cynicism, anxiety and at times despair. Therefore, how could Paul, someone who was once at the top of his profession but found himself writing to the early church from prison, believe that experience produces hope?
For many of us, we enter a new work environment, a new city, a new relationship with great excitement and confidence that this will “be the one” and that we will be able to make a difference. Reality quickly sets in and we recognize that the ideal job is still a job, that we brought the same baggage with us to the new city, or that the perfect relationship is still two people trying to figure out life together. Rarely does experience lead to hope.
So was Paul’s hope illogical? Yes. Hope is illogical.
Hope is not wishful thinking, luck or good karma, it is a deep conviction that while all other things around us may be telling us the exact opposite, we believe that ultimately God will prevail. Paul understood that while things are not perfect now, one day they will be. This is essential to the Christian life—if we don’t have hope, then we have nothing.
Have recent experiences led you to have hope or have caused cynicism? How might you hold onto hope, while the things around you tell you the opposite? Who is someone that may need your encouragement this week that God will prevail?