Part 20 – To make hope real   

Built into suffering is the promise of “hope,” Romans 5:4 – the Greek word elpis meaning confident expectation. But also built into hope is the promise, verse 5, that it “does not disappoint.” The Greek word Paul used for “not” was very strong. He meant we will NEVER face the embarrassment or shame of our hope turning out to be a horrible mistake. 

And what a promise that is, that the hope we have is way more than wishful thinking, or hoping for the best but with no certainty it will happen, or finding out what we were hoping for was just an illusion. Paul wants us to realize that we have a hope that’s real, where we “know in all things that God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28.

But how do we know God is doing that for us? Paul explains back in Romans 5:5; it’s because of “the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.” It’s because a miracle happened to us. We were given the Holy Spirit who keeps on making sure we know God loves us, so our hope in him never fades.

Which is where things can get sticky, though, because when we’re hit with suffering and frustration, where’s God’s love? Maybe this whole Christian thing is a fake, because it offers no certainty after all. And logically speaking, Romans 8:22, “It’s plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail.” So how can anyone truly have hope in a world like this? Or hope in a God of love being real too? 

But of course he loves us, says Paul in Romans 5:8, because “he demonstrated his love for us by Christ dying for us when we were utterly powerless.” We were in a hopeless state, with no idea that God loved us, no idea he even existed, and no idea what he created us for. So it’s not surprising that life for so many people turns out to be a disappointing,  frustrating, “What’s the point of it all?” existence. 

And it could have been like that for us too, but a miracle happened, the result of which is hope that does not, and will not, ever disappoint…

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