Read Romans 8:23-25
23-25 And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that at last we have realised our full sonship in him. We were saved by this hope, but in our moments of impatience let us remember that hope always means waiting for something that we haven’t yet got. But if we hope for something we cannot see, then we must settle down to wait for it in patience. (JBP)
One Christian writer I respect very much, Lewis Smedes, said not long before his death that as he grew older his feelings about God tapered down to two things: gratitude and hope. Gratitude is the pleasure of hope come true. Hope is the pain of gratitude postponed.
Hope is one of the hardest things we practise as disciples of Jesus. As our text reminds us, it involves waiting for something we don’t yet have. And yet it is confident waiting. What God has promised will come true. But not yet. So does this mean we don’t experience gratitude till hopes are fulfilled?
Not really. We are grateful for what we have received already. We only have a taste of heaven through the ministry of God’s Spirit, but it is at least a taste. We enjoy many good gifts here and now and we must not let the fact that we don’t have it all deny us the appreciation of what we already have.
And also, we are thankful for the recognition that one day all promises will be fulfilled. It is anticipatory gratitude that requires patience and steady faith in the faithfulness of God. We always have something for which to be grateful. We always have something for which to hope.