My mother, Charlotte, is on a Walk to Emmaus this weekend, "a spiritual renewal program intended to strengthen the local church through the development of Christian disciples and leaders." The program is a ministry of the United Methodist Church (I grew up Methodist). At the end of the retreat, each person receives letters from family and friends to encourage and affirm them in their walk with God. Here's what I wrote to Mom:
- “Tomorrow’s another day.”
- “Everything will work out in the end.”
- And, everyone’s sure-to-get-an-eyeroll favorite: “This, too, shall pass.”
Do you see the progression of God’s love for us driving his hope for us? Without love, God would only be our taskmaster, as his hope for our Christ-likeness would have little grace for our insufficient efforts; in the wrong order (i.e. hope to love), God would only be our critic, as his hope for our Christ-likeness would become a condition for his love.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”