Romans 15:13 has become the Feely family's verse this year. It has been a favorite of mine for a long time, but these days the words pierce and heal in a new way.

Repetition can be powerful. Right now, two other verses come to mind where the author repeats the key word. In the Psalms, David writes of how "deep calls to deep." In the New Testament, John writes that we have received "grace upon grace." And here, in Romans 15:13, Paul prays that the God of hope would give us hope.

We hear many people talk about having hope, but this verse explains it in a new light. We can't simply have hope on our own. We can't one day muster up a well of hope in our own strength, one that bubbles up and over and out to flood our life and the lives of those around us. Hope must come from something beyond us. More precisely, hope must come from someone outside ourselves, someone with the power and the ability to truly give us hope. Hope can only come from God. He is the only one with the knowledge and strength to lift us up, to tell us light will come, to assure us that one day, there will be no more tears. It is God's power, the power of the Holy Spirit, that gives people hope. When we are at the point of desperation, it is the Holy Spirit living inside of us that stirs the well of hope, pours into it Himself, and makes it overflow.

For me, this is reassuring. I don't have to create hope on my own. I can cry out to God and believe without a doubt that His Spirit has the power to give me hope, even when things feel hopeless. I know that when I am weak, He is strong, and He is able to turn mourning into dancing and ashes into life. There are many reasons I trust God, but this is a big one: so that I will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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