Hoping Against All Odds

She has battled depression off and on throughout her life, and the past two weeks another wave had come over her.  During her pain and struggle, she called her husband and shared.  

Husband: “What can I do for you?”

Wife: “Speak truth to me.”

There are days in our lives when we need to be reminded of the truth.  As followers of Christ, we are not exempt from the sin and struggles of this earthly world in which we live.  This reality is why it is so important to have someone in our lives who can remind us that the truth we know in our head is the same truth that washes over our heart.  

When we feel helpless, hopeless, and all strength is gone, truth stands in the gap through God’s grace.  The first few verses of Romans 5 help us to see the role hope plays in the life of a believer.

Hope In Glorification

Hopelessness is rampant in the world today.  The solutions are abundant yet still leave many so empty.  Why?  Because the only thing that will completely and fully satisfy the hopelessness in a person’s heart is a right relationship with God.

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience. Romans 5:1-2, 8:24-25

Treating hopelessness with medication, alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, gluttony, or any other thing besides the justification found through Jesus’ blood, and righteousness is a waste of time.  God’s Word clearly states that our peace will come when we surrender our lives over to the God who made a way for us to stand before Him through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  

As Romans states, it is in the hope of the work Christ did on the cross that we are saved and not only that, but we eagerly await the day of His return when we will be glorified entirely in Him.  

While we wait, we are encouraged to continue to have hope even in our afflictions.  

Hope In Affliction

Wouldn’t it be nice if once we surrendered our life to Christ, He took us immediately to live with Him in heaven?  Unfortunately, that is not His plan.  Instead, He keeps us here on earth to begin the journey of sanctification (the process of our sin nature becoming less and less in our lives and our Spirit becoming more like Jesus Christ).  This process is not easy because of the sin that remains in our flesh, and one of the ways that the sin is removed is through affliction.  

And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4

It is hard to acknowledge, but our afflictions, trials, and storms we go through in this life produce endurance, character, and hope.  If this is the case, how happy and eager are we to embrace the trials of this life?  

Too often we are eager to walk with the Lord through the good times, but dismiss the time of growth through the bad because of the pain.  However, the same hope we have in putting our trust in the Lord for salvation is the same hope we have during trials.

 In his book, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament, Mark Vroegop comments on the trust it takes to continue in the Christian journey.  

Christians don’t leave behind trusting God after coming to faith.  On the contrary, being a follower of Jesus requires that we walk through life in continual trust.  Seasons of suffering are no different.  They are just harder and more intense.  The stakes are higher and the emotions more raw.  But trusting is still how we live.  

Yes, the stakes are higher and the emotions more raw, but our hope in Christ must be how we continue to live.  Christ is our ultimate example, and we are encouraged by the writer of Hebrew to embrace and run with endurance.

…Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1b-2

It is during the trials of life the enemy likes to come in and sow seeds of doubt and all kinds of lies.  But in those struggles, God uses them for good and refines our character and solidifies our faith in Him.  

Susie Larson, author, speaker, and radio host states: “The storms reveal the lies we believe and the truth we need.” 

Truth is what we need, and it often takes a storm to reveal the lies we have been believing.  However, when we come out on the backside of a struggle, we are reassured of God’s love and faithfulness to us.

Hope In Love

Based on a true story, the recent movie Breakthrough shows the tension in a believer’s heart when the trials of this life knock on one’s doorstep.  The family, community, and greater surrounding area of Missouri are challenged to hope in the middle of impossible odds and the truth of Romans 5:5 is revealed.   

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

The mother in the movie was able to hope against all the odds because of the love of God that was being poured out into her heart in the middle of the most unlikely circumstances.  

The same hope that we have at our salvation is the same hope that carries us through the storms as well as lifts us after we have gone through them.  It is that same hope we then share with others. 

Conclusion

Mia Koehne is a worship leader who travels with Aspire and is open about her struggles with anxiety, depression, and much more.  As we have taken a look at what it means to have an eternal hope, hope in our afflictions, and hope in love, let us remember that having others around us to speak truth into our lives is a crucial element in boosting the hope we have in Christ.  That day she asked her husband to remind her of truth, was the day she pressed into the hope she knew was deep inside of her but needed to be reminded.  What about you?  

Do you need hope today?   
Have you fully surrendered your heart to Christ?
Do you need to be reminded that there is hope in the storms?
Do you have someone in your life who can speak truth into you?

Take a step of faith today and ask God to pour out His love to you so that you will receive the hope that does not disappoint.

 

 

 

Additional Resources

Book—Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy

Movie—Breakthrough

Song—Cornerstone

Events—Aspire Women’s Conference

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