going through the motions of hope?
"Hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance." —Romans 8:25
A lengthy waiting period can either make or break our hope. We can react by growing bitter and losing hope. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Prv 13:12). For example, a man had been sick for thirty-eight years (Jn 5:5ff). Although he daily placed himself in a position of hope by the side of the healing waters, he had lost hope and didn't expect to be healed. When Jesus came to him, he had excuses instead of expectations (Jn 5:7). He built his life around going through the motions of hope, but he was a man "without hope" (Eph 2:12).
Alternatively, we can use a long and difficult waiting period to increase in hope and get better instead of bitter. "Affliction makes for endurance, and endurance for tested virtue, and tested virtue for hope" (Rm 5:3-4). Instead of breaking our hope, the difficulty and the long period of time without seeing makes for a hope full of patient endurance (Rm 8:24-25). Simeon (Lk 2:25ff) and Anna (Lk 2:36ff) used a long period of waiting to grow better, not bitter. Instead of going through the motions of hope, they devoted their hearts to God and became full of hope.
For what have you been hoping and praying a long time? Are you going through the motions of praying for these intentions without having any real hope of the Lord answering your prayers? Like the growth of a mustard seed, sometimes in God's kingdom things take a long time. Ask God for an increase of hope. With Simeon and Anna, say: "this hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us" (Rm 5:5).
Prayer: Jesus, "Hope of Glory" (Col 1:27), encourage me when I lose hope (Sir 17:19). May I "rejoice in hope" (Rm 12:12).
Promise: "In hope we were saved." —Rm 8:24
Praise: It was the anchor of hope in the Lord (Heb 6:19) that sustained Marcia through difficult episodes with one of her children.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 3, 2007
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