Pastor Perry Aalgaard - First Lutheran Church, West Okoboji
As I sit down to write this article the forecast is for snow this weekend. Since it is still technically winter, it is possible for us to have more snow, but I was hoping the last warm-up we had would have been the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. We tend to hope for what we don’t currently have. Today, I am hoping for just a little snow and another warm-up. Hope keeps us looking towards the future.
In the eighth chapter of Romans Paul wrote these words about hope. “24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Paul reminds us to have faith and hope even when things are not working out the way we would like them to be. We hope for those things which we do not have. When the weather was warm last week I did not need to hope for good weather, because we had it. Today is a different story.
In our lives we also have those times of trial which can feel like winter. These are the times when our lives go cold and stormy, when warmth and joy seem so far away. In these times we to cling to these verses and embrace what they say. We are to hope for those things we do not see and do not have at this time. A life without hope leads to despair, for there is no faith involved. When we place faith in something then there is hope for change and our hope is based on something real.
Paul speaks of the changes hope brings in chapter five of Romans. “3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” The hope Paul speaks of in these verses brings change to the situation because there are changes happening to us. The hope we have is that change happens to us, and with our change we can bring hope to the situation. Verse five speaks of God’s love being poured into our hearts. God’s love changes our hearts, and changed hearts allow us to change the situations around us. So many times we become afraid and let fear take away our hope. Hope is stronger than fear and when we let true hope move in our lives then we can be agents of change, bringing hope to our lives, to those around us, and to the world.
May God fill you with his love and use the suffering and struggles in your life to change you. May this change impact your life for the better, helping you to realize there is hope in this world consumed by fear. May this hope allow for change to happen in your life and the lives of those you meet. Without hope, we live in despair, with hope we look to for the changes God will make in our lives through his love. Live in hope and look forward to the future!