In her book The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, Kimberlee Conway Ireton writes this about Advent:
“In Hebrew, the word for wait is also the word for hope. (Thus translators can render 'Wait for the Lord' as 'Hope in the Lord' with equal accuracy.) The linguistic equation of wait with hope means that, for Jesus, immersed as he was in the language of the Hebrew Bible, there is no conceptual differentiation between waiting and hoping. They are one and the same activity. This melding is especially apropos during Advent, when we wait in hopeful expectation for the return of Christ.”
One of my favorite hope-filled verses follows Paul's list of produce: suffering produces perseverance, then perseverance produces character and character hope. Paul bookends suffering and its produce with hope. “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2b, NIV) “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5, NIV)
I love these words: “And hope does not disappoint us.” I wrap my heart around them and squeeze so tightly hope goes flying everywhere. At least I want to be that person who believes so strongly in this unremitting hope it bursts forth from me and rains all over everyone like confetti at a parade. My hope is increased the more time I spend with the Father and in His Word; and the more my hope increases, the greater the desire grows to helps others look up and believe in the “hope [that] does not disappoint us.”
Morris A. Weigelt & E. Dee Freeborn writers of Living The Lord's Prayer put it this way:
“Jesus taught us that Kingdom people are not destroyed by the terrors of the end time. These will not control the person who prays for the Kingdom. The new long-range perspective enables us to deal with the chaos without being overwhelmed. . . . People who pray with the Kingdom in view know that evil does not have the last word – and that knowledge profoundly shapes their lives. Praying for the breakthrough of God's kingdom frees us from the fatalism that sucks the hope and life out of us. We recognize that God can use life's crushing experiences to shape us into redemptive vessels He can use. We know beyond a shadow of doubt that God is in charge.”
Why? Because we have a “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus.” Living! This hope is active and alive. In the midst of a world full of dark deeds, deeds darker than some of us care to ever know or imagine, we have a living hope. And in this broken, sinful world followers of Jesus have every reason to live suspended in a place of hopeful waiting, suspended above despair – waiting for the return of Jesus. I want to believe in the living hope so completely I can rise above the despair of this world's tragedy. I do not want to look away or be void of compassion, but to be able to know and help others see that this is not the end of the story. We will not be disappointed, this story has the best sort of ending ever. This is our eternal hope.
P.S. My husband took the photo of the yellow gladiolas; he says yellow is the color of hope.