The key verse regarding a growing hope is Romans 15:13. It’s another prayer that Paul prays for the believers in Rome and in every city in the world. He writes, “May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

When we sink our roots down deep into God’s Love for us and begin to fully apprehend how deep, how high, how long, and how wide God’s love for us really is, our faith grows. We get stronger and stronger, and the tidal waves and tsunamis of life may bend and twist us, but they will never break us! Being a true disciple means a growing faith that withstands the trials and hardships of life. Another major element of spiritual growth is our “Hope.” The Bible teaches us that “hope” is the substance of things unseen. Hope reaches into the future to better times and better circumstances. If our love has its roots in God’s love, it looks back to the cross and draws sustenance for the present. Hope, on the other hand, sets its sight on the future, also drawing sustenance for the present. Knowing what awaits us in the Kingdom of God has a powerful sustaining effect on our lives as we walk hand in hand through this valley of the shadow of death. In this life, we all need something to look forward to.

God is always the source of it all. It all comes from Him! His love is the nourishment that feeds our faith. I like to see joy as the water! I think of the tree of Psalm 1 that is planted by the living water and has all the nourishment it needs. Its limbs get big and strong and hold many branches, which hold many leaves and is a joy to behold. Peace is the sunshine. If he “leads me beside still waters and puts me in green pastures,” I’m overcome by a sense of peace that feeds and nourishes my soul to continue its journey in this valley, looking forward to the meadow of heaven that awaits me at the end.

Heaven is often presented to us in unattractive ways! Most of us don’t want to spend eternity floating around on clouds playing harps in white robes! How boring does that sound? When I think of heaven as the scriptures present it, I think of complete healing. I think of complete peace and contentment and perfect communion with God and with those we love. I think of pleasures far exceeding the lame excuses we have in this life, but the details of which haven’t been completely revealed. Paul said, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But God has revealed the general idea. They are enough to nourish us and sustain us in the present through any trial and hardship life might bring our way. Paul lets us know that we were not designed for this world but for a better one yet to come. In Philippians 3:20-21, he tells us, “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory…”