My parents promised me hope by giving it to me as a middle name. So the word has a special meaning for me in spite of the fact that my life hasn’t been easy.
I seized onto Romans 5:3-4 as a lifeline in the wake of a difficult divorce. As a single mom raising two traumatized children, I began to understand the role of suffering. I didn’t like it one bit, though. But I did discover I had a strong will, given by God, to persevere. Since I couldn’t get out of the situation, I had to find a way through it.
About that time, I received an award for perseverance from a local writer’s club. My character began to change. Instead of saying, “God is good” only when I had a stress-free day, I learned to say, “God is good all the time, even when it doesn’t feel like it.”
My fledgling hope was tested most severely when my daughter committed suicide. But as the waves of grief swept over me, I discovered that was when God’s hope shone the most brightly. The same hope sustains me now as I experience the indignities of old age.
That kind of unstoppable hope is based on the character of God. He never stops working to bring about his best for me. It’s not always an easy path, but I don’t worry about it anymore.
When God enrolls us in the school of suffering —and we all get there sooner or later— we can receive a degree in hope once we embrace the formula in Romans 5:3-4. Count on it.
Lord God, may I embrace suffering as the quickest route to having an unstoppable hope in you. Amen.
Go Deeper — When has it been the easiest for you to have hope? When things are going great or when things are not very good? Has the formula in Romans 5:3-4 made a difference in your thinking?
Photo Credit: Nick West