Bringing the Text to Life

Hope Against Hope Romans 4:13-25

Jesus did the best in the midst of the worst. The worst can produce the best.

Why is it that the biggest disasters always seem to coincide with events on which we pin so much of our hopes? The times we are convinced will be the best often turn out to be the very worst.

How many big family get-togethers -- Christmas, Thanksgiving,Fourth of July -- start out fun, then turn into fiascoes? Cousin Jim still won't talk to Uncle Frank, and the stains from Aunt Margaret's pie will never come out of the carpet. Weddings are another time when bombs of both tiny and titanic proportion are regularly detonated. The number of things that go wrong on wedding days -- cakes dropped, rings lost, blazing heat, torrential rain, flowers delivered to another planet -- is about equal to the number of people who wish they had just eloped.

Sometimes it seems that whenever we expect the best of times, we get the worst of times instead.

Thankfully, the reverse is also true. How many people, having perched comfortably somewhere in the great American "middle class," find themselves...

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