The Reservoir of Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

I live in Colorado, where we’ve had drought conditions for the past few years. Each year our local officials, in collaboration with the public utility departments, decide if there needs to be watering restrictions put into place. For example, this year we’re restricted to watering our lawn three days a week. As another deterrent to using too much water, the price for each gallon has been used, as well as higher prices during certain times of the day.

The reservoirs around the state are low. The snowfall, that is so necessary to keep the water level up, was minimal this past winter. The ripple effect of that can be seen in the dried-up patches of grass in our backyard. The dry Colorado climate often causes me to feel parched and wanting.

That picture of depletion could be used to characterize the search that many people have these days for hope. Hopelessness has dehydrated our passion for life and purpose for living. It has sapped our energy and scorched our optimism.

When a person or a culture is in the midst of a hope drought, the despondency causes people to look for people and systems to blame it on. Whose fault is it that there is no hope in sight? In sports the coach, manager, players, or even the fan-base get blamed. In financially-stressed times the rising costs of products and services become the focus. In relational tensions, the focus can shift to perceived injustices, the inability to communicate, and structures that cause division and unrest.

Looking for someone to blame, however, never leads to hope. It just leads to hopelessness being reshaped. It does nothing to quench the thirst for hope. It distorts the thirst for hope into being a thirst for justice or a thirst for vindication. There is a mentality that runs through our culture that seems to believe that the absence of hope can be rectified by the presence of equity and fair treatment. There is nothing wrong with such things, but they are artificial sweeteners for the sweetness of hope.

In Scripture, where the word hope appears, it usually is in conjunction with the Lord God Almighty, Jesus, and/or the Holy Spirit. Psalm 42 begins with the phrase, “As the deer pants for the water, my soul thirsts for you, O Lord.” And then a few verses later, the psalmist writes, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5)

The Apostle Paul, after he had been taken to Rome to face Caesar and, ultimately, his execution, met with some of the Jewish leaders in Rome and said to them, “For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” (Romans 28:20) The hope of Israel, Jesus.

In a day and age of anxiety and unrest, a time of spiritual and personal drought, the answer for our lack of fulfillment and despair is the hope that we are offered in Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus described Himself as “The Living Water”.

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