Hope is a fragile thing because it’s driven by expectations. If you have high expectations, and your expectations aren’t met, you can become disappointed, or even devastated at times. Trust me, I know this from experience. My husband and I planned a special trip to a resort that was known for its service. TripAdvisor reviews touted praise for the service over and over again. (Not that I was reading the reviews every few weeks because I was so excited…) My expectations were sky high and I was confident that we would have the best service ever when we arrived. Except we didn’t. Yep, instead of receiving the best service ever, we received mediocre service at best. To say I was devastated is an understatement. And unfortunately, I allowed my unmet expectations distract me from the fabulous parts of our vacation. The entire vacation, from my perspective, was overshadowed by the mediocre service. Like I said, hope is a fragile thing…
Here are some questions for you to consider:
- How are those led by the Spirit of God described in Romans 8:14-17?
- Romans 8:17 paints a realistic picture of the Christian life. What does this verse tell us?
- Read Mark 14:32-42. What is Jesus communicating with His Abba Father?
- How does Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane give us some realistic expectations for our Christian walk?
- How does Mark 14:32-42 align with Romans 8:14-17?
- Read John 16:33. Why can we have hope in the midst of our suffering and trials?
- Read Romans 8:18-25. What is the theme of these verses?
- Why should we have hope according to Romans 8:18-25? (Review verses 20-21, 23-25.)
- Romans 8:24-25 says: We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) And Psalm 27:14 says: Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
- What characteristic of hope is described in these verses?
- Is there something you need to wait patiently for? Are you losing hope because it’s not happening in your timing? Ask God right now to help you wait patiently for Him. Ask God to fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so you can overflow with confident hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). And thank God that His Spirit will help you every step of the way (Romans 8:26)!
- Read Romans 8:26-27.
- What do you learn about the Holy Spirit from these verses?
- How does this make you feel?
- Romans 8:28 says: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
- Write this verse in your own words.
- Do you believe this? Why or why not?
- How would your faith walk be different if you truly believed that God worked EVERYTHING together for the good of those who love Him?
- Read Romans 8:31-34. How is Jesus described in verse 34? What is your reaction to this?
- According to Romans 8:35-39, what can separate us from God’s love?
- What things might tempt us to think we are separated from God’s love (verse 35)? How should we respond when we’re tempted to think God doesn’t love us (verse 37)?
- Review Romans 8:38-39. Which “neither” resonates most with you and why?
- Why should we have hope according to Romans 8:35-39? (Check out verse 39 for the answer.)
Romans 8 is filled with hope. Here’s a few truths believers in Christ can cling to from Romans 8: We don’t have to fight sin on our own because the power of the Holy Spirit helps us put to death the deeds of our sinful nature. We are children of God and His heirs. Better things are coming… we just have to patiently wait for God’s perfect timing. The Holy Spirit prays on our behalf when we don’t know what to pray. We can trust God, no matter what our circumstances are, because God works all things for good. And nothing can separate us from God’s love!
Nothing can separate you from God’s love. Satan may whisper lies to tempt you to doubt God’s love… but don’t believe those lies. Instead, sing this song at the top of your lungs the next time Satan whispers “God won’t love you after that…” The song is called Nothing Ever (Can Separate Us) by Citizen Way.