Hope is more of a developed character trait than a feeling. Having hope is not the same as wishful thinking. Hope must be produced in you through suffering. There is no other way around it.
Romans 5: 2-5 And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Do you see the path to obtaining a heart full of hope in this verse? I see a path and a progression here. Suffering then perseverance then character then hope. The path to hope is always in this order and always contains these essentials.
There are no shortcuts to obtaining a hopeful heart.
The first stop on the path to hope is suffering. Would you deliberately go down a path if you knew you were going to suffer? Let’s say you count the cost and decide to bite the bullet and go down this path; however, in no time you get the absolute worse punch to your gut that knocks you to the ground writhing in pain. You are shocked at the intensity of the pain and are confused because you didn’t see it coming. You look around and say, “Who did this?” At this point you need to decide to either turn around and run back or forge ahead with perseverance.
You decide to forge ahead and start walking again. As you take your first steps you realize that you have reached the perseverance stage of the path, so you get the eye of the tiger and a burst of energy and strength to persevere.
Perseverance is never needed where there isn’t a struggle or any suffering involved, and it is essential for you to develop character.
Character doesn’t come from quitting or complaining. As you continue in your perseverance, your character enters the refining process. It is at this point you discover that this is just the beginning of understanding what it means to have a heart full of hope. Why? Because it takes character to hope.
Why would you go through all this to hope? Hope in what? Paul says in this verse that “we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” So this hope we are fighting for isn’t about ourselves. This hope is solely centered on God. Wasn’t this true for Jesus? He endured the cross for the glory of God and not for his glory. The glory of God was for Jesus to pay the price for our sins on a cross. Are you willing to glorify God if it requires you to suffer? Are you willing to fight for the hope that gives God the glory only?
I love the last part of the verse. That hope does not put us to shame. So you mean that all of my weakness and angst for the whole world to see as I struggle to hope is nothing of which to be ashamed? I can struggle and cry out to God and others for help and not worry that I appear weak? That I can go down this path of hope because God’s love has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to me? The answer is a resounding yes!! My prayer – God I know there are a lot of lofty things I can struggle and persevere through in this life, but above all else, please help me to fight to hope in you and your glory. This is the one hope I desire.
Where are you on the path to a hope filled heart?