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Hope Doesn't Float: It Grows

I have been thinking a lot about hope this year.

My thoughts are decidedly Jesus-based, but I think that as humans, Christian or not, we're wired to look for hope. We need hope, and the fact that we don't do well without it says something to me. I'm not sure what, but I could get lost in all these thoughts. In fact, I have been...

Back in May, I was drawn to Romans 5:1-5, and ever since, I've been mulling it over. And over and over.

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. More than that, 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.

These have been my thoughts/questions:
  1. what does it mean that hope does not put us to shame (in the NIV, hope does not disappoint)? All of us have had our hopes disappointed at one time or another.
  2. how is God's love in our hearts the reason/explanation for hope's shamelessness?
  3. apparently, my hope should be increasing the more that I suffer (and see suffering)... How does this work? My natural inclination is to become more cynical, not more hopeful.

Mind-boggling questions that I don't have answers to.

But I'm clinging to the truth of hope. Hope that does not disappoint. I am deeply convinced that redemption is always a possibility - no, that redemption can be a certainty. I don't understand how, and I know that it rarely looks like what I think it will look like. But if hope is empty and redemption isn't a reality, then what are we doing?

For me, at the end of the day, I think my hope is in these two statements:
  1. Jesus is at work.
  2. Someday I will see how this made me look more like Him and how it benefited others.
(Translating those into the concrete reality of day-to-day life is something altogether more challenging than typing them on this page.)


I don't often say this, but I really would like to hear your thoughts from out there in cyberland. What's your take on hope? How does it function in your life? What's it based on, if Jesus isn't your thing?

Comments

mellamovaca said…
hey beth, it's funny b/c i've been mulling over hope these last several months too, especially romans 15:13 - 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. It hit me that joy and peace (only the kind given by God as you choose to believe) are almost like prerequisites for hope. And that hope is delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit. so simple. i don't have to eek it out.

also, i've been thinking about you a lot... i got those photos developed from the fox and hound... not the best pictures ever ;) but what made it even worse is that Walmart double exposed my negatives so on several pictures there is another a family standing on their front porch... it would make a good prop for a scary movie about the ghosts of a family coming back to haunt us. also, if we're ever in the same place again, i would more than seriously consider starting a photog company with you. but the kind of company where we just do what we want and don't get crazy busy or stressed b/c we can do it when we feel like it.

hope you're doing well and enjoying life!
becca
Anonymous said…
Hi Beth,
It's been a long time since I visited your blog and now as I explore it it makes me miss hanging out with you.
Here are my thoughts on that passage and hope in general. Perhaps there is only one assured hope, the hope to see the glory of God displayed. That hope will never disappoint and the more we are refined the greater that hope becomes and the more assured we become of its certainty. Our hopes that things will work out this way or that way those are the ones that often disappoint.
Amy.

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