I started reading in Romans 15 this morning. It begins with an exhortation about bearing other’s burdens. Paul than turns his attention to Jews and Gentiles glorifying God together in the faith. As I was reading along, I got stuck on Paul’s prayer in verse 13. (I was reading in my new favorite translation, the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Where I got stuck was on that phrase, “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” The New King James translates that as “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The Greek word for abound or overflow is perisseuó. It means to be over and above, to abound, to exceed the ordinary, to go beyond the expected measure.
Paul prayed that his readers in Rome would not just have enough hope to get by but would go over and above what might be expected.
My interpretation of that prayer is that when we place our faith in the wonderful God of Hope, He will fill us with a joy and peace by the power of His Indwelling Spirit. We get so filled that we begin to spill out hope over everyone we meet.
That prayer is so important in our time as we live in a day characterized by hopelessness. So much going on around us saps us of hope on a regular basis. We are bombarded with accounts of death and devastation, economic and medical challenges, dueling politicians and fallen heroes. It is difficult to not let the “bad news” overpower hope.
But for the person who placed their faith and trust in the God of Hope, we are to abound in it – to have so much of it we have plenty to share. Who can you share your hope with today?