by Tony Nester

How Hopeful Are You?
Tony R. Nester
Romans 15:13

On Thanksgiving Day a friend of ours came to share the holiday with us. She brought a long a book filled with questions for us to take turns answering. One of those questions asked us to name of person no longer living with whom we would like to have dinner. I chose Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln was perhaps our greatest President. He was also a man who fought a lifelong battle with despair. He repeatedly fell victim to bouts of depression.

During one of those bouts, years before becoming President, he left his post at the Illinois State Legislature, and returned home to try to pick up his work as a lawyer. But he remained emaciated and could hardly speak above a whisper. He couldn't summarize the news. He couldn't attend to business. At that low point he wrote these words in a diary: "I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell .. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better." (1).

Like Abraham Lincoln, many of us here this morning have had our bouts with depression. Lincoln was right. We cannot live in total despair. We either die or get better. Life without some degree of hope is no life at all.

How hopeful are you?

The Bible speaks of God as the God of hope. Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 15:13. Paul is giving a blessing to Christians in the Church at Rome. He gives them a blessing of hope:

(Romans 15:13 NRSV) "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

What does it mean to describe God as "the God of hope"? I think it means, in the first place, that God is hopeful.

We tend to take God's hopefulness for granted. What possible problems could God have? God is all-powerful. God lives in the splendor of Heaven. G ...

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