Devotional of the week: The riches of our hope (2 in Ephesians series)

IMG_0738…Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all his people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:15–19)

Paul moves from his song of praise to a prayer of intercession and thanksgiving for his readers. He longs that they would know Christ better through the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, revelation, and enlightenment. When he prays for the opening of the eyes of their hearts, he uses wonderfully imaginative language. And he prays that they would receive God’s hope, riches, and power.

When we are grounded in Christ, we are filled with hope. Theologian CFD Moule has a marvelous definition for this Christian virtue, namely “faith standing on tiptoe” (as quoted in the NIV Application Commentary, Zondervan, 1996, p. 74). Our circumstances may seem unrelenting or impenetrable, but we can ask God to stretch our faith and give us the hope to believe his promises.

When my much-loved job at a major publisher was eliminated some years ago, my first reaction was pain and disbelief. I turned to God, asking him to fill me with hope for the future. The loss didn’t disappear instantly, but gradually chinks of light appeared in the darkness. And over time I formed a so-called portfolio lifestyle that affords me more time with my kids along with enriching writing and editing.

Have you lost hope? If the waters seem to be washing over you, may you be able to grasp the Lord’s life raft this day. May he bring you encouragement, whether through a verse of Scripture leaping off the page, the assurance of his never-ending love, the laughter of children, the caress of a loved-one or, perhaps, even a new job prospect.

For prayer: “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).