Jesus breathed His last breath, and the enemy stole the disciples’ hope. The enemy does that still. He sneaks up from behind and rips the breath from our lungs. The randomness to these attacks and the resulting suffering sharpens the blade, fulfilling John 16:33, “In this world you will have tribulation . . .”
Yet Romans 8:28 declares that all things work together for good for those who belong to God. All things mean all things. Not some things. Not most things. All things. Even the seemingly hopeless things that slam us against the wall. When we understand the promise of Romans 8:28 in the context of the larger passage, we gain needed perspective. We suffer with God, but those sufferings will not even begin to compare to the glory to come (Rom 8:17-18). As women called according to God’s purpose, we are predestined to be conformed into the image of God’s Son (Rom 8:28-29). Only God knows what it will take to conform us into the image of Jesus.
When troubles catch us by surprise, we might be tempted to think our hope lies outside of us in rehabilitation, relationships, a career change, or accomplishments. We might put our hope in medication, money, or the doctor. But such undependable, exterior things are disappointing objects of hope. Our greatest hope lives within us and seals our union with Christ. Jesus ascended to heaven and told His disciples that a better helper—the Holy Spirit—would come. That means when Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross, hope didn’t really die.
A writer who claims “hope is an overused word” labels the University of Alberta as “a world leader in hope research.” Their research shows that “hope can be a powerful tool for better mental health as well as a robust predictor of well-being… From anxiety to aging to chronic pain, it turns out that hope is good for our health.” Even the world sees the value of hope. But as believers living on this side of the resurrection and ascension of Christ, we have more than the physical benefits of positive thinking during tough times. We have a Living Hope inside of us that has taken up residence in us because our Hope is not dead. Jesus rose from the grave and we hold fast to our assurance that we will have trouble in this world, but we should take heart. Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).
 Amie Filkow, “Hope is an Overused Word, But the Real Thing Can be Powerful. Research shows talking about it can make us stronger. And that we can learn how to find it.” NewTrail, accessed March 18, 2021, https://www.ualberta.ca/newtrail/research/seeking-hope.html.
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