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When Do You Get Hope?

resurrectionYesterday, I preached a message centering on hope and how God wants to meet us with His hope (listen to the message here).

What really shocked me was as I was praying, God took the opportunity to correct my theology. Can you believe that? Me! Yeah, I can believe it too.

God reminded me of the verses in Romans 5:3-5,

…we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Powerful verses! But they didn’t go along with what God had been showing me about hope–that God is the author of hope and to find hope you must encounter Him. We can’t get to hope so much as meet hope through His Holy Spirit.

When God reminded me, this was Sunday morning after my notes had already been made. It was troubling because I have actually taught before that hope is hard-won and fought for, that hope comes after persevering through trials and developing character. It’s not weak because you have to fight so hard to get it.

Sounds good, but then what about what God was showing me now?

I had almost convinced myself that trying to incorporate these verses weren’t necessary for that day (just being honest) when I stopped and asked God what He wanted to say. Then He blew my previous ideas out of the water.

I saw in my spirit something unfolding.

The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple. –Psalm 119:130 (NIV)

Suddenly I realized that hope was not the end of the equation, but a gift from the beginning. You can rejoice in trials because Jesus has completely endured and overcome. As soon as we enter a difficulty, He appropriates the perseverance, character, and hope you need right then and you can take hold of it.

A good father doesn’t give a test without equipping his son to master it. We indeed have a good Father! It’s the son’s choice whether he uses what the father gives.

Nobody persevered like Jesus. No one’s character was proven like Jesus. Hope is hard-won, but not by you! Jesus won hope for us once and for all in every situation and circumstance.

Hope isn’t something you win as a prize. You won’t get near the prize without true hope.

Next time you find yourself in a hard situation, I pray you’ll stop and reflect on these verses. Begin to thank the Father He has already given you the endurance, character, and hope to bring you through. It’s a hope that doesn’t disappoint because of His love.

What do you think? Have you thought of these verses in this way before? Does this speak to you?

6 Comments

  1. I like that hope is not the end result but there from the beginning. That has so many ramifications. I can last through anything knowing I have hope. Yeah, I like that.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..Depression5My Profile

    • That’s how I felt about it! Thanks Bill. 🙂

  2. I spoke on hope Sunday as well. The class I am teaching is studying Ezekiel and as with all of the prophets there are warnings and rebukes… maybe more so with Ezekiel since he prophesied through two periods of Babylonian captivity!

    Sunday’s passage was chapter 37, and the vision of the Valley of Dry Bones. (one of my favorites!) The thing that stood out to me, (and the point of this comment when I finally get there!), is that in the vision God is speaking hope into the people of Israel, offering them a chance at new life and hope even though they felt as if they were in a hopeless situation, but there is a pause between the offering and the actualization of hope…

    Ezekiel obeyed God in the vision as commanded and the bones knitted together and muscle and skin reformed. The dead stood… but they were still dead (without hope). It was not until God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind, that life entered in.

    I think a lot of times we are walking around like the dead… We look alive, play the part, but we have not experienced the entering of Hope’s breath, the Holy Spirit’s indwelling.

    To move from death to life, from hopelessness to hope-filled-ness, we have to allow the Spirit to enter in. The gift is there… All that is needed is our obedience and submission to receive it.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Compassion MovesMy Profile

    • Absolutely. I kept being reminded too of Jesus breathing on the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit. It was a process of waiting until Pentecost, but He breathed hope into them, literally and figuratively. Good word and great confirmation to me, Dusty! Thank you.

  3. The song by Third Day popped into my head, “My Hope Is In You.”

    Our hope is the confidence in our Savior’s completed work on the cross. I think we as Christians sound a lot like the world and use the word “hope” when we should be using the word “wish”. We don’t wish in Christ, we have hope and faith in His Word and deed! I’m with you, Jason.

    • Amen! Thank you, Floyd. 🙂

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