On Monday when we showed up in the flooded home in Beulaville, we found this picture tucked in the 2x4s. This home had four feet of water inside. Everything lost…or so it seemed.
Hope is only as good as what we hope in. If you hope for a sunny day in Marion, NC today, you will be sorely disappointed. Misguided hope always disappoints. But there is a hope that never disappoints. Paul writes about it in Romans 5:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5, ESV)
Did you notice the object of our hope, what we hope in? It is the glory of God. We anticipate a day where God’s glory will be on full display. But until then, as followers of Jesus, we do some things that cause others to shake their heads and wonder.
We rejoice in our sufferings. We don’t rejoice because of our sufferings. We rejoice in our sufferings. What is the basis of our rejoicing? We know (not necessarily feel) what suffering does. Suffering produces endurance. Endurance isn’t the ultimate end–endurance produces character. And character brings us full circle and produces hope.
Hope does not put us to shame. Hope in the glory of God will never disappoint. Never. What causes us to hope above and beyond our circumstances? To rejoice in our sufferings? The love of God. And notice. It hasn’t been sprinkled or dripped into our hearts–it’s been poured into our hearts. Overflowing love. Abundant love. Extravagant love. Spilling over kind of love. Jesus crucified on the cross, in our place, for our sins kind of love.
Yesterday, sheetrock went up in this home. Hope hangs high on a once flooded wall. Hope hangs high in a once deluged house. Hope hangs high in a once uninhabited living room.
And if you have been justified by faith, if you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, hope can hang high in your heart too. It will hang high on the wall of suffering. It will hang high in the living room of pain. It will hang high in the house of disappointment–but it will never, oh never, disappoint.