“We were saved in hope”

Posted Oct 16, 2021

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Daily Scripture

Romans 8:18-25

18 I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. 20 Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice—it was the choice of the one who subjected it—but in the hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. 23 And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. 24 We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? 25 But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.

Reflection Questions

Bob Goff is an inspiring, colorful example of what he said is so vital for the church: to “live with hope as the assurance of what you’re hoping for.” Suffering was a regular part of Paul’s life as an apostle (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23-29). We might think that would leave him bitter and hopeless. But it didn’t, and these stirring words of his from Romans 8 tell us why. The apostle knew that “the essential quality of hope is that it is oriented to something in the future that one expects but does not yet possess.”* Like Hebrews 12:1, he wrote about waiting with patience (a key component of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23). He knew our real hope is not in our own resolve, our own strength. To live with hope we need the sustaining presence of God’s Holy Spirit to empower and guide us.

  • Paul knew he was not the only one who suffered. (The whole creation suffers, he said.) Have you ever felt as though life (or God) had singled you out to suffer? It in no way downplays your pain to be aware that you are not alone, that this broken world’s reality is that “creation suffers.” We do not yet possess the reality of God’s promise to end all suffering. How can trust in a better future give you strength even in a painful present? When Paul wrote that “We were saved in hope,” he wasn’t in any way being glib. “Paul is not expressing a… superficial optimism that everything tends to everybody’s good in the end. No, if the ‘good’ which is God’s objective is our completed salvation, then its beneficiaries are his people who are described as those who love him.”** How do you base your hope, not in vague, general optimism, but in the faithfulness of the Savior who loves you and who you’re learning to love more every day?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I don’t like this pandemic. I don’t like it when I or someone I love is sick, sad, unemployed, or disappointed. I’m truly thankful that, especially in these times, you are with me every moment. Amen.


* Article “Hope” in Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit and Tremper Longman III, general editors, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998, p. 399.

** John Stott, The Message of Romans. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994, p. 248.

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Anne Williams

Anne Williams

Anne has served as a pastor at Resurrection since 2011, and is now the Resurrection Downtown Location Pastor. She loves to guide the process of reconstructing faith. She and her husband, Eric, raise two sons, Jude and Reid. Anne writes real, honest devotions about everyday life at thebradshawdrafts.com.

When my in-laws bought land, they inherited an old farm house that boasts a stairway that leads to nowhere in the front entryway. At some point in that old house’s history, the second story was chopped off in order to move the house to a new location. The stairs remained, but they no longer serve a purpose.

When I read today’s passage and began meditating on what it means to keeping hope in the waiting and longing for the world that God is bringing, I thought of that staircase. Unlike those stairs, the steep climb that you and I face today leads to someplace marvelous. It won’t disappoint us, so our waiting is laced with anticipation, hope and expectation of the glory that is to come.

Waiting always goes better for me when I do something while I wait. Pump the radio in the school pick up line, make a new friend waiting in line at the grocery store, empty the dishwasher while the water comes to a boil.

You see, it is easier to be patient when we feel like occupy our time with something meaningful. While we are waiting to see God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven, we don’t sit around and twiddle our thumbs. We don’t hit pause on life until things are as they should be. The longing continues, but in the meantime, our time isn’t wasted. So today, even as we wait, we are called to do our part, to get to work, to do whatever we can in the waiting. Do what you can with your gifts today. The hope that is yet unseen is headed our way and it will be worth the wait!

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