Summary: Hope in God is know like hope in any other person or thing. Hope in God is directly connected to the faith that we should have.
Just in time
Folks I need to just say that this has been some week. Now don’t get the wrong idea. I just mean busy. Really busy and full to the hilt. I know you have had weeks like it.
Of all the things God has blessed me with, I believe that time is the most precious. It is the one thing I can’t buy more of or ever replace. It is probably the thing that I regret wasting the most.
It is strange that even when a week is really busy I still spend some of my time poorly. But the advantage of a busy week, I have a lot fewer regrets that I might on a more normal schedule.
This morning our scripture was originally written by the apostle Paul to a church that he has never visited. Now, he did know many people in the congregation. Generally he is writing to establish his role and authority and to explain that membership has based on faith.
The scripture opens with the phrase about being “justified by faith.” Our faith makes us right. Our faith justifies or qualifies us for peace with God.
When I have weeks that are so full that I can’t seem to get any rest and where it seems like everyone wants my attention I really feel like I need peace. It is a comfort to know I have peach in my relationship with God.
Paul is telling us that this qualification came with our initial faith…..
Our faith has a bonus feature; Paul adds that our faith in Christ also includes the grace in which we currently live. The problems we still have and are working on to improve…are covered by God’s grace because of faith.
A quick recap….faith yields peace with God for our past and grace for the problems that we still have….and then Paul mentions a response…. “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
We can be happy because we have a hope in God…It is not like a child that hopes mom and dad will take them to 6 flags.
-- When God says it, it is a done deal….which is not like any kind of a hope that is based on man’s actions and plans.
All that sounds so good, and then we get to Paul’s next phrase which I have trouble liking….
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Why do bad things happen to good people??? Suffering, I really don’t like suffering. I don’t like a headache…..It seems to get in the way and makes me grumpy and sometimes rude.
But if it won’t go away and I go out and get the work done then I persevered….
Personally I think I would prefer the headache to go away…..but, Paul says that when Tom works through his suffering it builds character……
The word suffering, is also translated as tribulations in the KJV and from my reading, an better interpretation might be pressures.
I have heard other people talk about when we make our kids do things they don’t want to do it builds character…..My folks worked a lot on my character … sometimes they had to use the plumb tree out front to add to my motivation…my suffering to make me a better person, to build my character.
There are days when I think I have enough character….But Paul is describing a process that we have to go through if we are to ever have hope.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how is your hope?
Hope is a critical thing.
If we live as people with little or no hope then we will be a people that are never willing to do anything.
There are plenty of people in our world that live without hope. And they definitely have a hard life…
There were once two identical twins. They were alike in every way but one. One was a hope-filled optimist who always saw something good in everything. The other was a dark pessimist, who always expected the worst in everything and every situation.
The parents were so worried about the extremes of optimism and pessimism in their boys they took them to physiatrist. The Dr. suggested a plan. "On their next birthday give the pessimist a shiny new bike, but give the optimist only a pile of manure."
It seemed like an extreme thing to do. After all the parents had always treated heir boys equally. But in this instance they decided that they had to try to Doctor’s advice just to get the boys to see the world a little more normally.
So when the twins birthday came round they gave the pessimist the most expensive, top of the line, mountain racing bike a child has ever owned. When he saw the bike his first words were, "I’ll probably crash and break my leg."