The day finally came! After hundreds of years of prophecies telling the time, place, and nature of the birth of a Savior, God fulfilled His promise. The God Man was born, not in a palace but in a stable.
Is this really the Saviour of the world? He looks like an ordinary guy (except he hangs out with the outcasts and sinners, runs around with an odd collection of guys, is constantly healing people, and can’t go very far without offending a religious leader).
Needless to say man’s expectations, or hope, did not meet God’s reality.
My favourite word in the Bible is the Greek word for hope, or elpis. I love this word because it carries more meaning than wishful thinking like “I hope this will happen.” This word for hope, elpis, means confident expectation. In other words, this kind of hope is knowing the outcome and waiting with a sense of expectancy. Paul uses this word for hope in his letter to the church at Rome in chapter 8.
For in this hope we were 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.Romans 8:24-25
For context, Paul is encouraging believers. Earlier in this text, Paul shares that the suffering and persecution that the church is currently facing will pale in comparison to the glory that is coming. In a way, I think Paul is “rallying the troops” because he’s exposing the real enemy and reminding believers of their true identity: we are blood bought children of the Eternal and Holy God of the Universe. Furthermore, Paul says this identity, our certificate of adoption, (being sealed with the Holy Spirit) is where our hope is found. The church doesn’t have to be afraid because they’ve already been saved. Instead, believers can face suffering and persecution with hopeful confidence! How?
- We know that, just as God fulfilled his promise in sending Christ to save the world, Christ will return to redeem his Church.
- He gives the Holy Spirit (and the power of His presence) as a reminder of His love and to affirm His promise.
Hope of all the earth Thou art
This year has had me constantly re-evaluating my expectations and hopes versus God’s reality.
If you know me, you know I’ve felt like the Lord has called me overseas. I originally planned to leave earlier in the year, but I was delayed because of the pandemic. I was praying through leaving earlier in the Fall, but instead I continued to serve locally. There were many times that people questioned the possibility of me even going overseas, and I began to wonder that as well. However, the Lord kept reminding me of this call to serve overseas, and He kept asking me to trust Him. So, I decided to trust Him. In spite of the lack of financial support, in spite of the fact that circumstances shift daily with covid, in spite of all the logical reasoning I could muster. The result?
- God gave me elpis kind of hope.
- I’m living in the already and the not yet! (meaning I’m fully supported financially and I’m starting the paperwork for my visa this month!!!!!!!!).
All that to say, when God makes a promise, He keeps it. It may not look like what you expect, but God’s reality is far greater and better than you could ever ask or imagine.