Hope that doesn’t disappoint…
I had hoped it would be sunny that Sunday. The weather report had forecast clear skies and sun, so hope for a warming afternoon nature walk had sprung within me. Sunday morning my hope grew… the skies looked clear as the dawn broke. By 9 am the clouds were whispy and I began to plan my route. Then the skies darkened. In no time they were black. Rain began to fall, and soon it came in torrents! My “hope” was dashed.
Some are minor, as was mine. Others are more profound: a miscarriage, a turn of one’s health, a lost opportunity, a failed relationship. Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor. 15:19). Why so? Because the Christian is not promised prosperity and happiness in this life; in fact, he is promised the opposite: “In this world you will have trouble,” said Jesus (John 16:33). Paul warned young Timothy “…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).
But the Christian’s life is defined by faith, faith in the God-become-man Jesus Christ, and that what He promised is true. This faith is defined by hope: “faith is the substance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1). The Christian’s “hope” in eternity is real to him now because he has the deposit of the Holy Spirit within him (see Eph. 1:13-14). He has evidence of this hope in his heart, a love and desire for eternity which was not there before.
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Rom. 5:5, KJV)
This hope “does not put us to shame” (NIV); it “does not disappoint us” (GNT). It is not like a sunny day weather forecast; it is a done deal. It is the believer’s inheritance as one adopted into the family of God. This hope is “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:19), a “helmet” (1 Thess. 5:8) to protect us.
Our brother Joseph urged us Sunday morning to keep alive this hope in our hearts. These days are difficult days and darker days may be yet to come. But, rejoices Paul, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us!” (Rom. 8:37). Even if this world takes a believer’s body, nothing can touch his soul!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Rom. 15:13).