Scripture Reading: Romans 8:18-25, Isaiah 65:17, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Revelation 21:1-6
It begins as far back as we can remember. Right before we run off to school, we smear on our mama’s lip gloss and clamp down as many hair clips as our endless bangs will allow. We hope for another attempt to fit in with the others, to measure up, to belong.
Growing up, I often found myself hanging in the balance between enjoying the moment and anticipating the next one. As a young child, my hopes centered around a 25-cent soft serve ice cream cone after church on Sunday nights. My hopes matured as I did—working to make the swim team, racing to the finish line at a track meet, striving to win an award. I hoped for slumber party invitations, a certain new sweater for Christmas and, of course, beating my brother at checkers.
Those early years of putting my best foot forward, I hoped the appearance of having it all together would win me friends. But years down the line, the stakes of life loomed larger, and deep heartache entered in—nevermind the lip gloss or hair clips.
In truly tragic moments, our hope is put to the test. And if it’s misplaced, it will be found wanting.
The hope we read about in Romans offers us a greater understanding of the hope God offers. It takes us from tangible evidence we can see, and pushes us deeper into a faith that asks for what we cannot see. In fact, all of creation is wired for this. If something breaks, we are hardwired to figure out a solution. Most problems can’t be solved in a day, so we work and test and try until we receive the desired outcome. But there will always be a hope offered by God that requires all of Him, and no amount of our working and testing will bring it to pass. This is the hope of Christ, our Rescuer and Redeemer.
Because of Christ, we are free to hope in even the most difficult or uncertain circumstances. In the first chapter of his epistle, James tells us to “consider it a great joy” whenever we face trials because the testing of our faith produces spiritual endurance (vv. 2-3). Trials are accompanied by hope. Hope is a gift. Hope is critical, and the gospel gives it to us in unending supply.
Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience (Romans 8:24-25).
Any suffering we endure here and now is incomparable to God’s coming glory (Romans 8:18). The measure of trials we have endured directly relates to the measure of hope we offer the world. This is the beautiful gift of hope.
One day our groans will give way to glory. While we wait, we place our hope in Jesus.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away (Revelation 21:4).