A new hope
When have you felt most loved or cherished by another person? Who was it? How did it make you feel? What effect did their love have on you?
We’ve probably all met a loud-mouth who boasts a lot about their own abilities – maybe as a cover for their insecurities. But that isn’t the kind of boasting Paul is talking about here (vs 2,11).
Have a look through the passage again, and count up the number of times Paul mentions something God has done, or uses a phrase like ‘through Jesus’ or ‘in Christ’. Like the boastful bore, Paul can’t shut up – except he’s talking about God, not himself!
Paul is boasting in the hope – not wishful thinking, but a certain confidence – that what God has done already guarantees that he will finish what he has not yet done. And notice how Paul talks about the way in which God uses our afflictions – the bad stuff that happens – to build that hope (vs 3–5).
How has God already shown his love? Look again at verses 5 to 8. Yet, the work of saving God’s people is not yet complete (vs 9,10). Believers already have so much, but we do not yet have it all. We are all a work in progress, but the end is not in doubt.
In the quiet, name the afflictions you are facing. Ask God, by his love and Holy Spirit, to help you grow in hope, rather than despair.