“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Yesterday, Palm Sunday, we recalled the arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem on the way to the Cross. For His disciples, it became a week filled with intensity, conflict, confusion, and fear. The same crowd that cried out “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” would demand just a few days later, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
The city of Jerusalem was awash with pilgrims in that week. Craziness. Chaos.
In many ways, Holy Week serves as a metaphor for our lives; dashed excitement and shattered dreams. Perhaps this Monday you can already see a cross on Friday. Holy week? It feels considerably less than sacred and holy.
In Romans 15, the Apostle Paul delivers a benediction; a blessing. He’s not quite finished writing the letter, but he delivers a word of hope to all of us whose holy week feels filled with conflict, confusion, or chaos.
No matter how difficult the trail seems, the God of hope stands by us and behind us. Indeed, it’s the powerful work of the Holy Spirit to help us abound in hope.
Hope motivates. It sustains. It shapes. It changes everything.
Ray Johnston’s 2004 book titled The Hope Quotient, reminds us that people with hope will persevere. They don’t quit. Can you imagine a couple on the brink of divorce saying “I really think we can make this work, but let’s not”? Or someone in the workplace saying,”I love this job and feel so good about my future prospects that I quit”?
Paul declares a blessing for every Holy Week person who feels like the proverbial pilgrim; away from home, vulnerable to others, and caught up in chaos. The God of hope can empower you with hope, through His Holy Spirit. And the outcome is joy and peace.
Hope dispels despair. It lifts our eyes above the horizon of our circumstances. It strengthens us. It helps us endure tough times. It puts suffering into a new perspective. It makes faith larger than fear. It protects the mind. It bolsters the soul.
Holy Week marks the final days before the Cross. For everyone who faces their own via dolorosa, hope comes like rain on a parched land. We can trust the One who finishes every Holy Week with a Resurrection Sunday.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.