Often we equate hope with a good feeling – and hope definitely does fill us with encouragement and strength – yet the Bible often couples hope with trials, like in Romans 5: 3-5, which says, “3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” It is rather easy to hope when everything is going well; it is another thing to hope when we face challenges and trials. His hope is developed through trials. God knew that suffering would take our eyes off of ourselves and onto Him. He tells us that it has been granted to us to suffer for Him (Philippians 1:29) and that it is God’s grace that we should suffer unjustly (1 Peter 2:19-21). In these trials, our hope is set on Him who does not fail.
Think about some of the things we hope in, some of the things we say: “I really hope my team wins. I hope I get to see my family again. I hope we can get through this time.” The word “hope” is used a lot in our daily lives. God knows that we need it. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 says, “16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” God is refining our faith in these times so that we can be mature and strong.
The reality is that our hope cannot be based upon what is seen, what is here on earth. Something greater must be the source of our hope! What a beautiful thing it is that Christ is our hope, the unchanging and unfailing One. The idea of hope has really come to the forefront with the pandemic. This is a time for followers of Christ to stand firm. The most spoken commandment is “Fear not.” We are those we have peace and hope in all circumstances. At the basis of our faith is “to live is Christ and to die is gain” – how can we fear gain? We must entrust ourselves to God for whatever happens.
When we are facing trials, our hope will anchor us. Again, look at the example of Jesus. He lived this life and died without a thought for His own welfare (Isaiah 53:7-9). This is how He asks us to walk. We must be willing to suffer many inconveniences in our life – to have our daily routine disrupted, to be taken advantage of by others (not abused), to have our earthly possessions used by others, to do things we don’t want to without grumbling. This will create in us the life of Jesus and allow hope to increase in our hearts, because our hope comes from heaven.
What has God placed in your life to increase your hope?
May you see the circumstances around you as opportunities to fix your eyes on the Everlasting One, to cultivate a life marked by hope. Romans 15:13:
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”