Athlete, Here is a Word and a Wish


Athlete, Here is a Word and a Wish

Morris Michalski

Romans 15:13 (NIV)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

An important book addressing toughness in sport was written by Jay Bilas several years ago. Bilas was concerned that many people who talk about toughness really don’t define it well. He spells out 15 elements that best embody the term. 

Predictably, the work was titled “Toughness.” It’s a very good read. 

The last chapter of his book brilliantly illustrates one last element: HOPE. Hope as foundational to toughness is the thesis. Without hope, people won’t tough it out, won’t fight through hard things at all. 

With little hope, people will fight a little. But with much hope, people fight on, tough things out, overcome, relentless and uber brave. 

So hope is crucial to toughness. The greater the hope, the greater the fight. 

Maybe that’s why so many books of the Bible end with messages of hope, and why the gospel story is absolutely laced with hope: real rainbows, parted waters, toppled walls, fallen giants, restored sight, countless fed, redeeming blood, empty tomb … all real deliverances embedded in a living narrative. 

Yes, God wants us marked by hope-driven toughness found in Him. He gives us hope. 

And that’s why the apostle Paul’s prayerful wish for us in Romans 15:13 should really strike home. Here’s the breakdown of that terrific one-sentence wish:

Hope is a Person more than a circumstance. It’s found in God. He is to be known, seen, embraced as hope. 

Hope starts and ends here. He is the source. Looking elsewhere is futile. 

Joy and Peace always accompany real Hope. They become the evidence that one is really living in Hope, that it’s really in us. 

No joy and peace, no real hope. When we have real hope, we get 100% of the other two. What great fringe benefits!

Personal joy and peace is also linked to trust. There is no sustained filling of joy and peace apart from trusting God. And trust is also the front porch to hope. 

We can’t get into God’s great house of hope without getting up on the porch first. The porch is trust. Trust God to build hope. 

Overflowing with hope is God’s goal for us. 

What a core value and game plan! He wants hope living over-the-top in us, filled over-the-brim. He wants hope rolling in us all through the year, enough for us to give freely to others too. 

The greatest “Hope Agent” in the world is the Holy Spirit. He faithfully delivers hope every day, like a FedEx truck always running routes to our door, to our box. 

Look for the delivery. Be in His Word. Sense the Spirit deliveries. 

Hope builds toughness. Hope best comes from God. 

Reflect: How do you build toughness? How do you build hope? Who or what delivers it to you? Is it abounding?

A prayer to consider: LORD God Almighty, thank You for calling Yourself Hope and pointing my hope to You! There’s no better place to find it and build it. Fill me with all joy and peace as I trust You and help me to give hope to others too. 

“Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27)! By the power of Your Spirit living in me, Amen.


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