Bible Reading: Romans 15:4, Romans 15:12-13
Devotion (Guest writer Tanya Cowley)
As another year comes to a close, we begin to reflect upon our circumstance. Many look back only to discover little progress. The thorns in our side continue to irritate and fester. Maybe our healing hasn’t come. Maybe our spouse remains distant. Maybe our children aren’t saved. Maybe our addiction hasn’t been kicked. Perhaps we are still alone, still angry, or still afflicted. Whatever the circumstance is, we just feel stuck in it. We can’t find joy or hope.
Christmastime has a particular way of magnifying our hopelessness, especially when we put things under the comparison microscope. We examine what everyone else has and evaluate how we are lacking. Worse, we measure on the scale of expectation, thinking that God will submit to our will, instead of giving everything to him.
It is easy to lose hope when our faith is rooted in expectations, and our lens is turned upon ourselves.
Instead, we must do as instructed in Romans. We must learn from the things written in scripture. We must remember that Christian conversion doesn’t translate into a life of ease, exempt from hardship and suffering. We are still walking around in a sin filled world, in our sin-filled flesh. Everything in our nature opposes Christ. That won’t end until the fulfillment of His promises. Only the word can tell us where to place our hope.
Further, we must pray to our Father, the God of Hope, that he would fill us with joy and peace. How do we know he will do that? Because we trust him. How do we know we can trust him? Because we have read his words. In this way, action begets more action. We can rest soundly and patiently in His divine Word because we trust that it is true and he will keep his promises.
“The joy and peace of believers arise chiefly from their hopes. What is laid out upon them is but little, compared with what is laid up for them; therefore the more hope they have, the more joy and peace they have.” – Matthew Henry
Family Activity: Purchase or cook a Christmas meal for a family in need.