it's like in the great stories, mr. frodo

Romans 5, verses 3 through 5:

And not only this, but 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 out within our hearts…

You know those verses that just follow you around? The ones that seem to trail casually along behind every thought, or wave at you from across the room during dinner. The inescapables. The things God really seems to need you to remember. THAT is Romans 5:3-5. The verses that will not be silent. And although God has not fully explained them to me just yet, I get the idea that this passage, in my current life, has everything to do with the hope of Christ versus the fear of disappointment.

Hope is everything to a Christian. We cannot have faith without it. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” We live day to day in the hope of the resurrection. In knowing that Jesus died for our sins, that He has forgiven us, and that, someday, He will return for His bride. Hope is not a feeling we experience, it’s a response we choose. Jesus promises, and we hope. And the more we see His promises fulfilled, the more our hope grows and the steadier our faith becomes.

Now Satan knows this, and he will do everything in his power to destroy the truth of it. He will do everything he can to convince us, the children of God, that our Father does not keep His promises, and that our faith is in vain. He very much wants us to feel disappointed, because he knows that disappointment makes way for doubt and produces fear. And fear is the opposite of hope.

Our generation has been trained in suspicion. We have been taught that truth is transitory, that it changes with the hands that hold it. We have been told to trust no one, believe nothing, and in doing so protect ourselves from being made into fools. Find it out for yourself kid, and don’t be surprised when it’s not all you hoped for.

That is the lie Satan would have us believe. That life is full of disappointment, and that God is to blame. That is the lie I have been contending with all through Lent, and I’m pretty sure that’s why I can’t seem to get more than a few steps before running smack into this verse in Romans. God constantly asks me to acknowledge hope. And it’s crazy because Satan has been telling me that there is no hope in Christ and that my faith is a joke. But the more he tells me, and the more I wrestle with it, the more God proves His faithfulness and my hope increases. Once more, Satan is exposed and God is glorified.

And that is what I pray for you on this Easter Sunday. That your soul would be full of the certainty of God’s promises for your life, and that your heart would definitely, INESCAPABLY be full of hope. Despite the trials. And despite the hurt. That’s my prayer.

Peace of the Lord,