This devotion was originally written for the Chase Oaks Church website. Read the Devotion on the Chase Oaks website…..
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
Having hope during difficult times sounds impossible, but that depends on what you think hope looks like. In the past, I have imagined it as someone who looks naive and complacent while enduring horrible hardship. However, I now realize that hope can be either a steely glare looking deep into the pit of trials of all kinds or a peaceful smile.
One definition of hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”
I’ve seen the steely glare on the faces of those enduring horrible worldly troubles but determined to focus on their hope in Christ. I have also seen suffering with a smile. They both bring to mind a dear friend of mine who recently went home to heaven. For the last 18 years of her life, she was completely paralyzed due to complications of Multiple Sclerosis. She could not do anything for herself. She had to be fed, bathed, everything. She couldn’t even wipe her own tears away when she cried.
When I first met her, I wondered why she wasn’t angry and depressed. But I noticed that, as I cared for her, I somehow felt like she was actually taking care of me. She was a prayer warrior and full of biblical wisdom, but more than that she was full of joy! No one could make me laugh like Patti! And we laughed all the time. She had joy and a smile on her face because she had an expectation that God had a purpose for her.
During her memorial service, I learned from a childhood friend that Patti also contained the steely glare of hope. When she became a quadriplegic, she told her friend, “I will never let my children see me become bitter because of this!” And they never did.
During difficult times, our hope in Christ is not a blissful ignorance or denial; it is an expectation that Christ is going to get us through it and that heaven will more than make up for any temporary struggles here on earth.
Enduring hardship? Hold on to hope in Christ.