And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
The believer’s hope is based on the love of God and it is mediated into our lives through our faith in His love. If we have confidence in Him, in His intentions toward us and in His sovereign power in the universe, hope is constantly in our hearts. Hope fades when either one of these is doubted.
But since the Spirit is a Person and not just an inanimate entity, this passage is about intimacy with God. The apostle wrote that it is specifically the presence of the Spirit in our lives that brings hope, because the Spirit is constantly pouring out His love into our hearts. The original language uses a word that could be translated, “shed abroad” and has the idea of a liberal pouring out.
God does not mete out just enough of His Spirit into our hearts and lives that we can just barely get by in our trials and challenges. The Spirit is poured out, lavishly, abundantly, freely. As Paul wrote to Titus:
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
There are things in this life that we have a meager supply. We have only so many days given us on this earth to live, only so many talents, and our years are filled with only so many opportunities. We seem to never have enough money, or enough good friends, or enough good health. Each of us knows what it means to go without in one of these areas of life, if not all.
Yet the Scripture says we are given the Spirit in abundance. Because the Spirit is not a thing, but a Person, He personally connects with us in our hearts in intimacy and love. He assures us of God’s presence and compassion for us. When we are in doubt about these things, when hope begins to fade, that is the time that we need to withdraw from the pressures of mere human society and draw near God to fellowship with Him.
In the verse above in Romans, Paul introduced the subject of the Spirit for the first time in the book. He continues to build on the subject for the next several chapters until He reaches a crescendo at the end of chapter 8, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness…If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:26,31).
When your hope begins to fade, summon the courage to believe in God and in His love and power. Spend time with Him in fellowship. Read the promises of His Word. Exercise your faith in His goodness and power. Let the Spirit of God renew your heart and mind and believe that God will give you the strength to face the challenges before you.
Lord, forgive us when we doubt Your greatness and Your love. Build us up inwardly by the fellowship of Your Spirit. Give us the courage and confidence to face our challenges. Amen.