Romans 12:12 - Be joyful in hope.
You're five, and you wake up to great news. Dad says, “I got a bonus at work. Mom and I have decided. This spring break we’re going to Florida. We’re going to Disney. You can bring a friend.” Is it really true? It’s Dad. He knows. Instantly, you are joyful in hope. Of course, it’s only December. Spring break is a long way off. You might get tired of waiting. There will be bad days. But every time he reminds you: Disney is coming…. you have new joy, new hope.
But what if you were too grumpy to wake up that morning? What if when your dad knocked on the door, you told him you’re tired and he should go away? You would miss the good news. You would go to school. Business as usual. No hope, no joy. And what if you kept tuning your dad out? What if you’re mad at him about something so you avoid him? You’d never get the good news he has for you.
Our Father in heaven has better news than a Disney trip. He has news about sins forgiven, life in heaven.
Are you ever too tired to listen? Have you spent so much time on your own stuff, that you don’t want him waking you up? Are you maybe even upset with God about something? Maybe you think he did something in your life that isn’t fair. We all do this. We wander from God. We push him away. Either we’re too busy, or we’re too upset.
But if we push him away, we’re pushing away all the good things he has for us, too. If we keep pushing, we’ll lose the good things entirely.
Listen, fellow sinners. God doesn’t want that. He wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). And if he wants all people, that means he wants ... you.
More than that. Not only does he want you. He has a solution for all that pushing away you’ve done, that you still do. He let someone else miss out on his goodness - someone else to lose all his gifts - someone else to be the bad guy. Jesus, God’s Son, decided to miss out in your place. And because of Jesus, you will never miss out. Forgiveness of sins, heaven, God's blessings for body and soul, they're all yours.
Be joyful in hope. Easier said than done, right? If you'd simply tell me to be joyful, I don’t know if I can do that. Just be joyful?! But God does more than tell us to be joyful. God has given us his Son, God has promised us eternity in heaven. Remember who is making the promise. This is your Father in heaven. He knows. It’s going to happen, and not even your worst sins can get in the way, because you have a Savior.
So be joyful in hope! Every day is a day full of God’s forgiveness and love. Every day you live is another day closer to heaven.
Devotion by Pastor Jon Zabell
Copyright (c) 2022, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Green Bay, WI 54301
Bible text, NIV (c) Biblia, 2011