In the film the Bucket List, two options are presented for facing the end of life. Two imperfect men face impending death. One does so with faith and the other without. In the process both learn about themselves, about the glory of the seen world, and both begin to reach for a deeper reality that encompasses both the seen and the unseen. Love really makes a difference.
How do you know that this hope of More has any substance to it? Wishful thinking? How do you KNOW for sure? Here’s Paul’s take:
“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.” (Romans 5:5)
Paul says “Hope does not put us to shame”. It doesn’t let us down or disappoint us. It’s not a mockery of fantasy.It’s real, genuine and it works. OK: but how do you KNOW?
OK, says Paul: Our hope will not let us down “BECAUSE God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
So the foundation –the basis- for my hope is the love of God. It’s beyond any question or doubt and it’s going to bring us to glory. It’s going to bring us home. We have reasons for our confidence, that we are going to make it, not because of our strength or ability but because of his love. He is forming a character in us through all this stuff that happens to us (suffering> endurance> character> hope). That’s a part of it. He is sanctifying us now and he will glorify us then. Why? How? Because of “the love that will not let me go”.
We have a hope that we will see and share the glory of God. “Oh no, you never let go.” My hope is not a mockery of a thing, it’s the real deal. He will never let me down.
But how do you know God loves you like that?
We know because of the Holy Spirit. We have an inner experience of God. The Spirit is given to every believer. Rom 8:16. Poured in. A flood of knowledge and radiance that you are loved.
In the Greek the tense changes in v5. The Spirit was given to us (aorist participle: single completed action). God’s love has been poured out: perfect tense, past event with abiding results).
When we believed, the Spirit came. He flooded our hearts with the love of God but the process of flooding remains!
On the road side a few minutes from my house there’s a sign that says “Road flooded.” Every time I drive past I smile. It did in fact flood once, a year or so back, but the sign remains. Why? To remind us, I like to think, of an ongoing possibility. Every time it rains (and it rains a great deal here in Ireland), that road may well be flooded again.
And God’s love continually floods my heart.
No. There’s no hole in my bucket list. God’s love continues to pour, to flood our hearts, through the Holy Spirit.
All will be well.