Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hope Waits

Hope, like perseverance, is a virtue for the "not yet" waiting time of life in this groaning creation. Hope waits, the father watching at the window for the prodigal to appear, the prophet Daniel in exile counting the years until 70 and the return to the land, the sisters in Bethany waiting for Jesus to come and help their brother. Hope waits for the promises of God to catch up with our desires, or so it seems.

John Calvin articulates the forward-leaning character of hope:
"Hope is nothing else than the expectation of those things which faith has believed to have been truly promised by God. 
Thus, faith believes God to be true, hope awaits the time when His truth shall be manifested; 
faith believes that He is our Father, hope anticipates that He will ever show Himself to be a Father toward us;
faith believes that eternal life has been given to us, hope anticipates that it will some time be revealed;
faith is the foundation upon which hope rests, hope nourishes and sustains faith….
hope strengthens faith, that it may not waver in God’s promises or begin to doubt concerning their truth."
     ~John Calvin, courtesy of Graced Again
As beautiful as that is, who can weave the groaning, waiting perseverance of the now and the hope of the not yet better than the apostle Paul?
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it (Romans 8:18-25, NASB).
Waiting eagerly today with you and the community at Ann's:

and at Emily's:


  1. great words for my day....

  2. For some reason, hope is something that I'm quick to lose when I initially hit a bad spot. Thankfully the Lord returns it to me but I need to work more on not letting it slip through my fingers in the first place.

    Thanks for sharing. "...hope nourishes and sustains faith…....hope strengthens faith, that it may not waver in God’s promises or begin to doubt concerning their truth."

  3. "Hope waits for the promises of God to catch up with our desires." Thank you for this. What an encouragement to stay the course while waiting for God to work out His purposes.

  4. The groaning in the longing tugs hard these days. To see His Face!!! To be in His Presence!!! Oh the longing tugs hard. While we wait, we see Him in the faces of those around us, we sense Him in those we can't see, we commune with Him-in-Us, and yet the longing persists, doesn't it? :)

  5. Just the kind of post I've become spoiled in expecting from you.

  6. The apostle Paul is one of my favorites. I strive to be like him, content in all situations. And indeed for the hope that only faith provides. Thank you for this post - Beautifully written!

  7. "Hope waits for the promises of God to catch up with our desires. . ." So good. With no intention of making a political statement here, I do have to say the use of "hope" in the last Presidential election was bothersome to me. All my hope is in God, not man. So I appreciated reading your post here with hope in its proper place. Thanks!

  8. Loved this on "hope". Hope is such a deep, promising word. It's the reason we named our stillborn daughter, 14 years ago, Angela Hope. :)

  9. ..."forward-leaning character of hope"
    wow! what a phrase! how wonderful that as we lean forward in hopeful anticipation, we know one day our hope will be realized because hope does not disappoint.
    Beautifully written-

  10. hope waits for the promises to catch up with the desires...that was enough for me...very nice write...

  11. Wonderful words- "Hope waits for the promises of God to catch up with our desires, or so it seems", and love all of these powerful verbs related to hope: "awaits", "anticipates", "nourishes", "sustains", "strengthens".
    This sharing on hope is what I need to read.

  12. a very apposite post, given that this week we're doing the Corinthians 1 prayer; it will keep me thinking for a long while!

    i wonder whether part of the "virtue" of the theological virtues (and so of hope) is that they bless us in different ways at different stages of our spiritual life. Calvin seems to be thinking of hope as coming after, resting upon, nourishing and sustaining faith. while i can see how it may do all those things, i think a really crucial feature of hope is that it can come *before* faith, and be as it were the seed from which faith grows. just as someone can have a firm faith in something that s/he is not yet able to understand (and perhaps won't understand until s/he knows as s/he is known), someone can have a strong hope for something that s/he does not yet have faith in. God in His mercy can lead a person from hope to faith and (ultimately) to understanding ("sight"), meeting that person while s/he is still only "walking by hope" (not yet by faith), in something like the way the father in the parable embraces his son while the latter is still walking towards home--hoping but not yet trusting that his father will take him back. it's because hope is so often the beginning of the road to, or road back to the Father, i imagine, that the mediaevals so strongly warn us of the dangers of "accidie" (torpor/anomie/despair/hopelessness).

    thanks much for today's "waybread"!

  13. Hope waits patiently for the promise. An illustration I once heard was of ordering something from a catalog and knowing it was paid for, but in anticipation and having not YET received, still believed that the purchased item was on its way. Thank you for a delightful sharing on HOPE!

  14. thank you for this beautiful, hopeful reminder! xo

  15. My word for 2011 is "hope". I seemed to have lost it last year and recognized how this related to my faith. Too many disappointments led to a distrust of my Creator. Thing is, I know, really know, that Who He is doesn't depend on who I make Him out to be in my imperfect mind. He tenderly tended my heart despite my imperfect thinking. It was faith that kept me there.

    Love Calvin's words you give us here.

  16. Thank you, kind friends, for your comments. I am still digesting them and learning from them. I prayed Ephesians 1:15ff for you again today. May you grow to know Christ better.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.