“I hope there’s dessert at dinner.” “I hope it doesn’t rain today.” “I hope I find a good parking spot.” These ‘hopes’ are intro hopes, Hope 101 if you will – not bad, but inconsequential in the grand scheme of things and revealing ‘it’s all about me’ tendencies. They’re hardly meaty enough on a scale of hopes to stand up to the stuff life inevitably throws our way. Hope, Bible style, is more like an eternal flame alight in our souls, unstoppably ablaze through thick and thin, through snowstorms and setbacks and gruesome, dark valleys, through paralyzing disappointments and heart-rending betrayals, and still on the job in situations of total hopelessness! The fiery Source of this Bible hope comes from outside this world and He laughs in scorn at modern-day prophets of Baal as they feebly attempt to show Him who’s boss (you might want to check out this cool story in 1 Kings 18:16-39). Hear Paul’s supreme, and personally tested, confidence: “ I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, The Voice)

We’re in Advent 2020, focusing this week on that very thing – HOPE à la Bible – the hope God invites us to lean into, rely on, believe in when there’s no earthly reason for believing. Let’s be honest! The world isn’t impressed that we throw the word ‘hope’ around or preach lofty sermons about it or hang motivational posters about it on our walls. What the world needs to see is a hope armed and ready for when life hits the fan, when overwhelming circumstances crush, when pain or sorrow or tragedy launch arrows at our souls. The world is watching – and, yes, desperately hoping – to see evidence of something real, sustainable, gritty enough to take the worst and keep standing, something worth testing, something eternal. So, Church, let’s be showing the world what He’s made of us. I’m convinced there’s a divine nod in hoping for dessert, too – just sayin’. PD

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