Be joyful in hope.
One Sunday I preached about hope. Before the worship service began, I quietly told four people I would give them a candy bar during the service. During my sermon, I asked if anyone would like a candy bar. Many hands went up, but I gave the bars to the four people I had told in advance. Then I asked one of them, “Did you hope to receive a candy bar?”
“Were you confident that you would receive a candy bar?”
“Why were you so confident of receiving a candy bar?”
“Because you told me before the service that you would give me one!”
People laughed, and I explained that I had offered the candy bars in advance to all four people who got them. Those four had the joyful hope that they would soon receive a candy bar. That’s a metaphor for Christian hope.
Christian hope is not a vague wish. Christian hope is a sure confidence that we will receive what God has promised us. A community that lives with this sure, confident hope can take risks, offering hospitality to people whom society rejects. They can stand strong and confident with people who are struggling. They can foster hope in people who are feeling hopeless.
Because God keeps his promises, we can live with joyful hope.
Covenant God, give me grace and strength to live in joyful hope, knowing you will keep your promises. In Jesus, Amen.
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