Hope does not disappoint

romans-5-3-5

Verse of the Day for September 23, 2016 comes from Romans 5:3-5 in the Message Bible:

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

The passage is rendered this way in the New Living Translation:

Romans 5:3-5:

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

This particular passage from Romans lead us to hope, a topic of considerable importance today. Here is a revised excerpt from a previous blog entry “Hope: the antidote for despair”:

In the midst of tumultuous times that flood our souls, it is easy to see how persistent discouragement can lead to despair which is defined as the complete loss or absence of hope; to despair means to lose or be without hope. Once despair sets in, this mental state is perpetuated by prevailing unbelief. The downward spiral plummets into the depths of despair, a living hell with the welcome banner: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

To overcome a toxic emotion such as despair, we must move in the opposite spirit or in the opposite direction.  We find that “hope” is the antidote for despair. Hope is the expectation of a future good. Again as Christian believers go to the Word of God, they will find out that God is our hope

The Psalmist offers this marvelous reminder:

Psalm 71:5

For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence.

Hope counteracts thoughts of despondency, when we recognize that hope is a joyful and confident expectation. Though we are confronted with challenges on every hand, even in the face of death itself, we still have hope:

2 Corinthians 1:9-10

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,

Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally. In thinking about our eternal hope, I remember lines from one of Emily Dickinson’s poems that describes hope in a particularly intriguing way, and the opening lines serve as the title and epigraph for this poem:

“Hope is the thing with feathers. . .”

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul

And sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”

Emily Dickinson

We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.

But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

Romans 8:24-25 (New Living Translation)

 

As a rare exotic bird, arrayed in brilliant plumes,

Hope rises as a phoenix, a many-feathered thing:

As a lark ascending at sunrise sings on the wing

A melody that fades but then suddenly resumes,

So Hope conveys a message without a single word.

This glorious song of Hope will take us to the place where

Golden notes provide escape from any fowler’s snare:

The tune lingers to remind us that we, too, have heard

Heavenly harmonies in our innermost ear.

Perched in the depths of our soul, Hope has found a new home.

The songbird prepares our heart to receive what is to come.

While we wait in patience, God’s presence is ever near.

In these times of darkness and despair we will recall

And listen to hear Hope’s song that never stops at all.

 

We close our blog entry with Missi Hale offering a musical rendition of Romans 5:5; 8:24-25 (NKJV):

“Hope Does Not Disappoint.”

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