December 17, 2016
READ: Ephesians 1:15-23
I pray . . . you can understand the confident hope [God] has given (v.18).
It’s truly difficult to sit beside someone who’s grieving or in despair, a person who has taken one hit after another and has lost all hope. Whenever we surrender hope, our life slowly ebbs from us. We may continue to put one foot in front of the other, but we can no longer see the beauty around us. We no longer find joy in our life or in relationship with others. We see only gloom, and we find it nearly impossible to move toward light and love.
Perhaps this is why, in the prayer Paul consistently offered for the Ephesians, he prayed two things: that God would give them “spiritual wisdom and insight so [they] might grow in [their] knowledge of God,” and that their “hearts [would] be flooded with light so [they could] understand the confident hope” God had secured for them (Ephesians 1:17-18). More than anything else, Paul believed the church in Ephesus needed God’s wisdom to engulf them so that they could hold fast to the hope God insisted was securely theirs.
This hope, the apostle knew, would provide a bulwark against all the sorrows and treacheries the years would surely bring. This hope, which only God could provide, would uphold them whenever it seemed they might be undone. This hope would radiate light for them whenever they felt lost in murkiness and darkness (v.18).
Paul’s prayer reminds me that there are things I must see— things that left to my own devices I’d likely miss. We all need God—to have our eyes enlightened and to see truth illuminated. We need God to help us envision the future we have in Him and the power He promises will steady us (vv.19-20). Only God can provide the hope that endures though all calamity and uncertainty.
365-day plan: Hebrews 11:1-40
Read Psalm 119:49-50. What does the psalmist believe is his only hope? How does he connect God’s promises to hope?
Would you describe your hope in Jesus as a confident hope? Why or why not? Where do you need to experience the illumination of God’s confident hope?