Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5 NET
Have you ever hoped for something you didn’t get? How did that make you feel? Many people, whose hopes have been dashed again and again, choose to live by the motto “Don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed.”
I’m not sure that is true or even possible.
For the Christian, expectation and hope are integral to what we believe; yet our experiences teach us that what we hope for often does not materialize. So how do we reconcile that?
In Romans 5:3-4, Paul lays out a puzzling progression that begins with suffering and ends with hope.
How on earth does suffering, in the end, produce hope?
Maybe “on earth” should be replaced with “in God’s kingdom” to make this a fair question? Since, that is really what we are examining here. So then,
How in God’s kingdom can suffering produce a hope that will not disappoint?
Partly, the answer lies in the progression, in developing endurance and character through suffering. But even more so, the answer lies with having a kingdom (rather than an earthly) perspective through whatever circumstances we encounter. Paul was well acquainted with suffering, but even through it, he was completely confident in his own identity in Christ, and he also had complete confidence in who God was and what he could do. He had an unshakeable hope—a “faith-filled expectation”—because that hope was grounded in God alone.
It is impossible for God to lie, and it is impossible for God to fail. And that same God has been poured out into our hearts and lives within us permanently! That is why we have a hope that cannot disappoint. He will not let us down. That does not mean we will not feel disappointed at first, when circumstances are not in our favor, but if we choose to develop the endurance and character that flow from a kingdom-minded perspective, an unshakeable hope will result.
When has God come through for you in a way you never expected—when all hope was lost? Take a moment and reflect on that. Let faith rise up in you as you think about what He did. Now use that testimony to speak hope into your current disappointments and struggles. The truth is, He has promised to work it all for your good, even if you cannot see it.
Dear Sister, hope is never lost. He lives in you and He never stops working on your behalf because He loves you. Pray with me:
Father, I give You my heart right now, as it is, with all its disappointments, hurts, and doubts. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Pour out a new measure of hope and faith; comfort me with Your truth and Your love. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.