Ok, I'm pretty sure this is not going to be about what most of you were thinking of when you saw the word "Roman"! But it is about hope, and what better topic as we begin a new year.
There are so many translations...which of these do you prefer?
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV):
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
King James Version (KJ):
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
New International Version (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.
Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!
I found a site BibleGateway that seems to have every version known to man, so...here it is in Italian!
La Parola è Vita:
Possa il Dio della speranza, riempirvi della gioia e della pace che vengono dalla vostra fede, affinché la vostra speranza abbondi, per mezzo della potenza dello Spirito Santo!
Of course, I love the way Italian rolls off the tongue (well, not my tongue because I speak very few words, but loved the way it sounds to my ears!) But otherwise...personally, I'm gonna have to go with the first one, NRSV. Very similar to KJ, but I like "Holy Spirit" better than "Holy Ghost". And compared to the others, I prefer "abound" to "overflow" or "brim over". Abound just seems to encompass more than overflow, although it's roots are from the Latin for overflow:
c.1374, from O.Fr. abunder, from L. abundare "overflow, run over," from L. ab- "off" + undare "rise in a wave," from unda "water, wave" (see water).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
I like the separate components, especially the undare = "rise in a wave". An "overflow" can be a powerful force, but more often the word evokes a slowly creeping to the brim and then passively rolling down the sides...ah, but "abound", "rise in a wave", now there's an uplifting and energetic action! And the hope that just now filled my soul came flooding in, not slowly creeping. I was so down today after conversing with an old friend regarding our changed relationship that drifted apart long ago, at least for me, but hadn't felt that way to her...I was feeling very sad that she was so hurt by what felt to her like a sudden change. I glanced at the coaster under my water glass, and read:
And I thought how true that is...we wait for God, and we are strengthened. As I mulled that over, I found my heart suddenly lightened and my soul filled with a feeling of such hope. I did indeed "abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit"!
Hope that my old friend will find peace and know that I have not abandoned her, we have simply gone in a different direction. Hope that my darling Sara will find her way through second term university and through her depression and ADHD. Hope that the winding path of my journey with another friend will continue to take us in unexpected directions, that always end up strengthening our growing friendship. Hope that my sister Lynn and my niece will find ever more peace and comfort and joy in the upcoming year as they journey through their grief over the loss of husband and father. Hope that Dave and M don't come to blows one of these days ("Get those games off the floor!", kicks them out of the way...prompting a cry of "Mom, tell dad to have more respect for my stuff"!) Hope in the joyful promise and expectation of this New Year.
Hope quite simply and suddenly abounded in me...for many things, named and unnamed, known and unknown. In the midst of my darkness, the light of hope came shining in out of the blue. The God of hope does work in mysterious ways! :) I read this quote by Madeleine L'Engle:
"I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly."
I do find that God is often unexpectedly present in my dark hours, but don't quite agree that God is most present at those times...God is also most present in the midst of joyful times, in music, in cloudbursts and rainbows, in the exhilarating yet oddly calming (to me) wild crash of ocean waves and rumbling rolls of thunder, in the laughter of a child, the hug of a friend, in so many other places shining light into the deepest corners of our hearts and maintaining a pilot light for those times when our internal power does go out. And for that, I give thanks!
[Edited to add: I wrote the above entry, and then went to check out some of my friends' blogs...and by strange coincidence, Leslie's, girasoli's, Sandra's, and Annie's most recent entries were all about hope, and Annie's even included an image of a rainbow pace flag from Venice...clearly Hope abounds everywhere these days - Hallelujah and amen to that!!]