Day 20: Hope Never Disappoints
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 AMP
Hope Never Disappoints
Yesterday I sat with my extremely disappointed teenager. Her team was favored to qualify for the state cross country meet this year. Unfortunately, they missed the cut-off by fifteen points. She and her teammates trained for months, through early mornings, afternoons, rain, hills, and pain untold. Yesterday for the test of their strength and endurance, they ran their guts out and it wasn’t enough.
What if what you and I find ourselves in a similar predicament? Let’s say you are trusting God for something and it isn’t working out? Suppose I’ve tried my hardest, given my best efforts and still fall short of the goal? Maybe the relationship continues to go south. The doors refuse to open and the resources don’t pour in. A thousand setbacks and difficulties can interrupt our Awe-inspired mojo, yet the promise in Scripture is clear: hope never disappoints. How do you and I make sense of it all and continue to believe God for all we have entrusted to Him?
I fear it is right here many people lose their way on the path toward an awakened hope.
We just want to quit and hang up our running shoes. It’s just too hard and the pain too great.
Could it be, we misunderstand and even reject His purposes because we wouldn’t do it that way? Seriously: joy in suffering? Hardship-inducing hope?
Before you pack up your shoes and head to the beach, let’s take a closer look at Romans 5.
Paul wants his reader to clearly see meaning in what would normally derail us. If you look closely you will see that these difficulties you and I experience in life help make us into individuals who are more like Jesus. God has not allowed us access to Easy Street just because maybe we have prayed and asked for it. Maybe what we have requested is not easy. Either way, God is not so much into answering our prayers as He is into developing our character and some fortitude along the way. In this process, our faith will prove genuine and hope will continue to be awakened.
Just since trying to put this plan together, my father was rushed to the ER for a stroke. Then there were the suicide threats from someone close to us, behavior issues from one of our kids, and some major upheavals in our school situation. Oh, and let’s not forget my brand-new computer crashed just before we launched. It’s been three weeks, people. I’m sure you can relate.
In all of our adversity and pressures to endure, God is in the business of growing character that produces “joyful and confident hope.” That is His goal for us: awakened hope. Not a hope that is limited to what we see in front of us but a lasting, eternal one. I don’t know exactly what it looks like in your life, but these verses communicate that through mishaps and suffering (of which all of us encounter), God remains faithful, covering us with His love as we become more like Jesus.
This Blessed Hope
This is a hope that assuredly says, “Lord, I’m going to pray my guts out. Whatever needs to be done to be ready for You to move I’m going to do. Honestly, I don’t know how you are going to move, but I know that Your love is growing me through all the strains and crises. I am trusting that You know best, and I am confident in You.”
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