“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13).
It was Auschwitz survivor Victor Frankl that stated that no one can live without hope. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning (1984), he quoted Friedrich Nietzsche’s words, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’” (p.97), as a guiding maxim in understanding how some prisoners survived the concentration camps. Having lived through 4 concentration camps, Frankl observed that those who survived the longest were not necessarily the most physically fit but those who maintained a sense of hope. Even in the darkest of places, we could find hope and the purpose of pain in our lives. The Bible places hope squarely on who God is – the God of hope. Romans 15:13 reminds us that the God of hope transforms us into a people abounding with hope. The God of hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has the power and produces change in our lives and how we live. In the Old Testament, “hope” always conveys the idea of waiting, being patient, and enduring. God’s people were exhorted to wait and trust in the Lord to act on their behalf. In Psalm 40:1, David expresses this kind of steadfast hope: “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” In the New Testament, “hope” is found in Christ and “hope” look forward towards that “hope laid up for you in heaven” (Colossians 1:5). Such hope will change our lives. We are freed from weariness, doubt, fear, and self-destruction. Even when we go through difficult circumstances, we can be assured of the hope we find in Christ alone: “We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19 NIV) As we begin a new year, we do not know how 2022 would look like. I pray that our hope will abound in the God of hope, who will fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, He will transform all of us to be people of hope and be His witnesses during these difficult days (1 Peter 3:15)
A blessed 2022 Rev. Dr Timothy Chong