Since the church is currently celebrating Advent, I thought I’d do a short post each week with some Bible verses surrounding the themes. My church uses hope, peace, joy, and love for its Advent themes.
This week is the week of hope, and this selection has been incredibly instructive and helpful to me:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
How great to know that even though Paul and his compatriots were “under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure,” and even at the absolute end of their earthly hope when they “despaired of life itself,” they found, in its complete unwavering splendor, the hope that comes from relying on God.
As we wait expectantly for the second coming, we look back to the first one and remember that Christ came to take away our foolish self-reliance and give us an anchor on which to place our hope, our certainty, and our trust. He has given us cause to say with certainty, “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.”