Honestly, sometimes I want to give up on hope. A heart that has been broken and feels like it's breaking all over again can cause me to feel that way sometimes. But I know I don't have to tell you that. I know because if you've experienced loss and longing, you know exactly what I am talking about. Sometimes it hurts to hope. It hurts to hope for something only to have it not happen. It hurts have hopes and dreams for a child who is lost suddenly. It hurts to hope that this month will be "it" only to have that "monthly visitor" break your heart again and again.
So what does the Bible mean when it says hope does not disappoint us or deceive us or shame us? Am I not hoping the right way? Am I not spiritual enough? Am I forgotten? Am I unloved? Am I an exception to the rule?
"Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly." - Romans 5:3-6 (AMP)This passage begs the question: Where am I finding my hope?
- Am I hoping that if I pray enough or the "right way" then I will finally get what I am hoping for?
- Am I hoping that if I follow some spiritual checklist then I will finally get what I am hoping for?
- Am I hoping that if I do and say all the right things then I will finally get what I am hoping for?
- Am I hoping that if I attempt to control the situation then I will finally get what I am hoping for?
- Am I hoping that if do everything perfectly then I will finally get what I am hoping for?
- Am I hoping that if I suffer long enough then I will finally get what I am hoping for?
- Am I hoping that if I try hard enough then I will finally get what I am hoping for?
If my hope is rooted in my hopes being fulfilled exactly as I desire then I will be disappointed.
If my hope is rooted in my attempt to control my situation and do everything "perfectly" then I am deceived.
If my hope is rooted in trying harder and harder only to fail over and over then I will feel ashamed.
This hope that never disappoints or deludes or shames us is found in God and His love, which He demonstrated by Jesus' death, and because of His death and resurrection, those who believe can have the hope of spending eternity with Him.
This is the Hope I must desperately cling to. All others have let me down time and time again and only seem to benefit me if everything works out according to my plan, and we all know how often things go according to our plans. There is only One who knows what the future holds so in the meantime, I am choosing to find rest in these truths:
1.) God loves me and not just me, He loves you too.
2.) My hope is not based on my efforts, but on what has already been done for me and for you too.
3.) This life isn't the end of the story - Heaven is our eternal home.
The thing about Hope is that it must be rooted in Jesus and what He has done for you and for me. This Hope never disappoints us or deludes us or shames us.