15 We who are powerful need to be patient with the weakness of those who don’t have power, and not please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good in order to build them up. 3 Christ didn’t please himself, but, as it is written, The insults of those who insulted you fell on me.[a] 4 Whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction so that we could have hope through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude. 6 That way you can glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ together with one voice.
7 So welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you, for God’s glory.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:1-7, 13 Common English Bible).
Author and LaSalle University professor, Grace Brame, says some of her students claim heaven is of no concern to them. Life is precious. This world matters, and it is all we have for sure. So why concern us with something for which we have no evidence?
How sad that so many in the world around us have little, if any faith. Dr. Brame goes on to say, “Every night one of my friends prays that he will die before morning. He fervently hopes there is no hereafter. Something in him says eternal life is a pie in the sky, a human concoction that became dogma when it was accepted by enough people. Considering his many disappointments with God, why should he trust the next life will be any better than this one? For we who believe, its sad when people have no hope. It is difficult for me to imagine living in such a state of mind literally having no hope.
A preacher friend of mine is the opposite, calling herself a “hope junkie.” She surrounds herself with signs of hope. I can’t understand a person having little hope. Still, it happens.
I knew a woman in college who was much like any older college student. She was married with four kids. She went through a lot. When you talked to her it was clear, life was bad, and she had no hope.
Younger students didn’t know the depth of her problems. We talked often and I knew more than most. Still, I didn’t recognize the depth of her issues until after Thanksgiving. She became suicidal. The director of the Wesley Foundation and I spent quite a bit of time individually and together, in prayer for her.
In the spring semester, she was better but had a long way to go. We convinced her to get counseling. I lost contact with her but on occasion, when I think about it, I still pray for her. She needed a breakthrough. She might still need one.
Today we continue Prayer 101 and breakthrough prayer. Today is Breakthrough prayer for my friends. We all know people in need of intervention beyond our abilities. People have financial issues, health issues, relationship issues, work issues. Some people have lost hope.
As I read today’s lesson, Paul reminds the Romans, and us, of the importance of hope. Paul wants Jesus followers to be people of hope. It is easy to see why. Without hope, what is the point? And, if you spend time around a person who lacks hope, it gets hard fast. They seem miserable. And, if they seem miserable to us, imagine, if you can, what it must feel like to walk around with that baggage and no hope. Imagine your very worst day, a day where little, if anything, seems to go right, a day where you are miserable. Now, compound it with things continuing day after day.
It might be like that old movie from the 1980’s Groundhog Day where Bill Murray’s character seems to keep reliving the same bad experience every day.
Imagine Job’s experience. But for Job, something happened. God broke through. When God broke through everything changed. His life was restored. It all came back and more. But most of all, when God broke through for Job, Job found hope. Job’s hope was restored because God was there. Where God is, there is always hope.
We need to pray, asking God to break through in our communities. We need God to break through in our churches. We need to ask God to break through in the lives of our friends.
Each of us should pray for a break through for our friends. The greatest gift you could give someone is asking God to break through in their life. We all need to see God in powerful ways. That divine action can build hope.
Many around us lack hope. Pray God will break through to bring healing, wholeness, and hope for people who desperately need it. If they don’t have God, there isn’t much room for hope. But, where God is, there is always hope.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved