What Is Hope
Hard times test our faith. Romans 5 tells us that our hard times are meant to produce perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
It is easy to realize that one purpose of trials is to cause us to lean hard on Jesus our Creator. And the longer we lean on Him, the closer we get to sticking through to the end of the heartache. And the longer we stick to Christ in the face of difficulty, the more our character is transformed by God into a holy, healthy, godly character. Then we arrive at hope. We often assume that this hope is hope of a miracle or a better life here on earth, that things will work out the way that we want them to, and that the outcome will be positive circumstances. The only way our hope will not disappoint us is if we realize that the ultimate priority of our hope is the glory of God. Our hope starts and ends with God who has poured His love into our hearts.
Two dear friends experienced difficult pregnancies which were chock full of unknowns. In each case, friends prayed for a miracle (see Ephesians 3:14-20). We trust in the God who can do more than we could ever ask or imagine, yet Scripture does not promise that God will bring these babies into the world with no problems.
But in the middle of any storm, can we define hope as “God will absolutely positively answer our prayers for a normal, healthy, positive outcome”? Can we assume that because we claim a promise, God will do more that we could possibly ever dream of asking? Do we view God as if He were some Almighty Infinite Vending Machine? Put a prayer in, get a blessing out. In any circumstance, we know that God’s plan and God’s glory is primary over our wishes for a certain outcome.
And so while we scour medical reports for a glimmering thread of hope on which to hang our existence, we pray the one way we know God will answer.
In my life Lord, be glorified. be glorified.
Be glorified today.
We hope in the glory of God. We want answers to the barrage of questions that batter our minds. We want unknowns to be known and quantified. We want life to fall into a series of “if-then” statements. We can pray big; however, our hope lies not in answered prayers, but in God’s glory. We know that at the end of time, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. We know that God’s house — God’s name — is at stake, and He will not deny himself. The purpose of my pain is to bring glory to God through perseverance, character transformation, and a future hope.
“Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him. Though He slay me yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15).
“‘I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper — not to harm — you; plans to give you a hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“My soul, wait thou only upon God for from Him is my expectation and my hope; my salvation and my deliverance come from God alone” (Psalm 62:5).
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 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” (Romans 5:1-5).
by Heather Soukup, Director of Women’s Ministries