Hope for Today

I’ve been thinking a lot about something that Steven Paulson said at the Mockingbird Conference […]

Sean Norris / 4.29.09

I’ve been thinking a lot about something that Steven Paulson said at the Mockingbird Conference a few weeks back. Referring to a correction that Martin Luther made to one of St. Augustine’s teachings, he said, “We don’t live where we love. We live where we hope.” The more I thought about it the more I discovered it was true; I cling to hope.

It is a matter of survival it seems. I cannot get through my day without some thought of what I have to hope in. Often times I think my hope lies with something material or physically comforting like the thought of winning a new Porsche 911 in a raffle I entered a couple weeks ago at the NYC car show. The money for the ticket is going to diabetes research, so my conscience is clear:) While the thought of tackling a curvy Long Island road in a cherry Porsche is certainly a nice one, it never actually stands up to what my day brings at me. It never truly proves to be hopeful.
The day has a way of cutting through the B.S. I continually build up my idols only to find them smashed to pieces in the face of real stress, real pressure, real pain. They can’t even stand up to one screwed order from the local Subway. I hate when they give you someone else’s sandwich! Anyhow, my point is that the false things in which I place my hope prove to be just that, false, when I’m hit with the day’s concerns. There is no hope in them.
This leads me to Romans 7 and 8. Romans 7 is St. Paul’s description of his everyday. It is the reality of life smashing any notion that he can put hope in himself or his ability to “keep it together”. He connects with the truth of our twisted, conflicted selves in a way that is unparalleled, and he is left with no hope in a sense, with death. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? – Rom. 7:24


The result of this “getting down to the nitty gritty” (Nacho Libre, if you haven’t seen it, watch it!) is that he finds his true hope, or more accurately it finds him. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Rom. 7:25 In chapter 8 Paul really brings it home, and it is truly the water that satisfies, and causes us never to thirst again (John 4:1-15).
Some excerpts from Romans 8 (I encourage you to read the whole thing too this morning. It’s worth it.:)
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. – Rom. 8:1-4
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ – Rom. 8:14-17.
[W]e ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. – Rom. 8:23-25
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – 8:28
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? – 8:31-33
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – 8:37-39
Our hope is in Him today and always. He is for us, and He is with us. He has promised to never let us go, and He never breaks a promise.