Hope in Despair
Hope. What is hope? As a Christian, our hope is the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation. It is a living hope, because the Lord has brought us from death to life and we have the promise of an inheritance with Christ that can never perish, spoil or fade. While we are still on this earth, we will face suffering, pain, heartache, trial and tribulation. There is no way to avoid it. But in the midst of these, we can still have hope.
However for me, it can be a little difficult to keep clinging to the promise of an inheritance that at times, feels so far off and somewhat abstract. Maybe it is a lack of maturity or maybe it is an inability to fully comprehend our awesome God, but sometimes the weight of my momentary trials and afflictions feel overpowering compared to our eternal promise. I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
This is why I love Romans 5 : 3-5, which says,
“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 within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
It helps me see the bigger picture. It connects my tribulation to hope in a more tangible way. It shows me the progression of how my trials lead to hope, which in turn gives me hope through future trials.
A few years ago, I went through a season of intense depression. I was still grieving the death of my grandmother, struggling to adjust to some major life changes, and wrestling with some core lies about my identity.
There were many days when I felt overcome with a dark wave of sadness that threatened to completely drown me. But this verse helped me remember that if I persevered through that day, our loving Father would provide new mercies and grace to help me get through the next.
Over time, this perseverance led to a new maturity in me – proven character. Looking back on that season of my life, I can see the ways in which I was humbled, was transformed and became more dependent on Christ.
My faith that God will sustain me even through my darkest hours gives me hope not only for each and every day, but also helps me focus on our ultimate hope, the promise of spending eternity with Jesus.
So, when hope feels so far off in the midst of our trials, let’s remember this:
Tribulation leads to perseverance.
Perseverance leads to proven character.
Proven character leads to hope.
Hope does not disappoint.
We are able to exult in our tribulations.
We have hope both for today, each day and for eternity.