This morning at church, Pastor Joe was talking about the hope that endures, based on the partial verse from 1 Corinthians 13:7: “Love hopes all things.” It was a really good sermon and one that I will be thinking about for a while. In support of his theme, he read Romans 5:5: “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
For some reason, that verse resonated with me. An image of a bottle with a very narrow neck and a funnel on top popped into my brain. It seems a perfect image for hopelessness and the hope that God gives us through the Holy Spirit.
When we lose hope – through failure, disappointment, loss, addiction, fatigue, pain – it feels like there is a empty space in our hearts. We do everything we can to fill that empty space. We party too hard, try escaping, ignore our problems, fill every waking minute with activity. But nothing we do can fill that empty space. We cannot give ourselves hope. We cannot fill the empty bottle by our own efforts.
But God knows our need and God can fill that empty space. He sticks his funnel in the bottle and pours his love into it through the Holy Spirit. Instead of an empty space, we are filled. Instead of despair, we again have hope – maybe just a little, maybe just a taste, but that hope sustains us.
Where are the empty spaces in your life right now? Try a visual prayer. Picture that empty bottle inside you, and then watch God fill it with his hope. Allow God to pour his love into you, filling that empty bottle until it overflows.
Loving God, you know the places of hurt and disappointment in my life. You know the empty places where I have nearly given up hope. Allow your love to be poured out into my heart by the Holy Spirit. Fill me and allow me to confidently keep my hope in you. Amen.