“You lived in this world without God and without hope” (Ephesians 2:12, NLT).
The Apostle Paul is explaining how God’s grace has been given to the Gentiles (non-Jews), bringing them into His family, and uniting them with Jews in a new community—the body of Christ.
Formerly, the Gentiles were disdained by the Jews and excluded from the covenant promises of God. So, Gentiles were without God and, consequently, without hope.
Living without hope is a dreadful way to live. Nobody wants to live without hope–hope for a better life, a better tomorrow, a better eternity.
Hope brings meaning to everything that happens in our lives.
When my wife was diagnosed with cancer, we hoped that medical treatment would restore her health. When it didn’t, we hoped that God would heal her. But when He didn’t, it was our hope for eternal life in Christ that sustained us.
Yes, hope springs eternal in the human soul, as the lines from the Alexander Pope poem so adroitly express:
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;Man never is, but always to be blest.The soul, uneasy and confined from home,Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”-Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, 1733
Our lives, then are not so much about what happens to us or what God does or doesn’t do for us, but that we have hope in Him and His promises.
And we must hope because we can’t have faith without hope. Hope activates faith: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Hebrews 1:11).
We should always keep on hoping in God and His promises because hope helps us persevere through this earthly life by allowing us glimpses of eternity.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:3-5, NLT).
“Faith and hope and love”, but of these three love reigns supreme; and all of the happiness I have results from my givingness, givingness being the purist form of love; and whatever tiny bit of value I may bring to our universe also results from the measure of givingness of mine that I entrust to the benefit of any other living being; and all that I can take into my next life is the amount of givingness that I have built into the life that I have now. What else but givingness, the purist form of love, grows within us as we give it away ?