Day 89: Hope

       Today’s reading: Romans 1-16; Psalm 135

Romans 8. . .it is one of the most magnificent chapters in all of Scripture. At the heart of his letter to the Romans, after making an honest assessment of our human propensity for sin, Paul spells out the grounds for our hope. We do not have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps in order to get in right relationship with God–in fact, we cannot. We also need not wonder if God will be able to overcome evil when we look at circumstances in the world around us. Through Jesus Christ, God has redeemed us and, in fact, all of creation.

Paul’s message to the Romans is not pie-in-the-sky dreaming. It is the working out of his theology, rooted in a deep-seated assurance that present circumstances will not have the final word.

When we are feeling beat up by the world, we are not alone. All creation is groaning with us, as we wait for God’s final plan to come to fruition, Paul says.

When we are exhausted and no longer have any energy even to pray, not to worry. The Spirit steps in on our behalf, filling in the gaps with sighs too deep for words.

When we dare to imagine that God would abandon us, we are reminded that Christ was risen from the dead. Nothing, then, can separate us from the love of God.

This entire letter is chock-full of golden nuggets for our lives of faith–and with good reason. Paul writes to a community he has not yet visited. So he painstakingly shares the central tenets of the gospel with them. Certainly the first listeners were both inspired and encouraged. Nearly 2000 years later, so are we.

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