The apostle Paul once made this statement regarding hope:
“Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has (Rom. 8:24)?”
Hope is something we are looking forward to receiving, not something we already have, and because we haven’t received it, we have to wait for it. One thing we’re waiting for according to Paul is “our adoption as sons” and “the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). In the meantime, as we groan inwardly and “wait eagerly” for the day we will be physically and spiritually redeemed, we have to be patient.
It seems to me that the apostle Peter lacked this type of patience, at least in the days preceding the death and resurrection of Jesus. Like Simeon (HOPE: Day 1), Peter was looking forward to the day that God would send the promised messiah. In his eagerness to move the process along more quickly, however, he made a choice that could have derailed God’s plans. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter pulled out a sword and cut off the ear of one of the high priest’s servants. Jesus saw what happened and said to Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” God had a different plan for Jesus, one that Peter didn’t understand. Though Peter’s defense of Jesus in this fashion might have been commendable at a different time or place, at that time it could have undermined God’s divine purpose for Jesus.
I’m wondering as I think of this how often we’re impatient when it comes to God’s work in our lives. I’ve placed my hope for salvation in Jesus, for example, and am benefiting from what He’s currently doing in my life. But I sometimes want things to happen a bit quicker. And if God’s work seems to be delayed or isn’t unfolding the way I expect it to, I often want to take back control and like Peter, pull out a sword and cut off an ear or two.
I need to remember in times when God seems to be working slowly or is moving in an unexpected direction that hope requires patience and that even when God seems to be silent or appears be going down a different path, I can have a confidence assurance that He is still at work and that His plans will eventually unfold according to His divine design.
In what areas do you find yourself wishing that God would work more quickly or perhaps in a different way?
What can help you to maintain a patient and confident hope in the midst of this?
The topic of this week’s devotionals, contributed by Dick Lentz the from Neon flock at Calvary, is Hope. Dick has a blog at AsISeeItToday.com and can be reached at *protected email*.