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Hope that Does Not Disappoint

An Encouraging Word from Elder Randy Slak . . .

Hope, what is it? A good working definition I believe would look something like this: The full assurance and confident expectation that good things will happen. It is one of the three main elements of Christian character. (1Cor.13:13) It is joined to faith and love and is opposed to seeing or possessing," But hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? For if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it."(Rom.8:24,25) It is the second in a list of the fruits of the Spirit.(Gal.5:22) Christ is the actual object of the believer’s hope(1Tim.1:1). He is the hope of glory.(Col.1:27) The apostle Peter has great encouragement for us in this time before His second coming: "Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now you believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory."(1Pet.1:8,9)  

So what hope do we see in an empty, dark tomb on that first Easter morning? The apostle John entered the tomb; he saw and believed.(John 20:9) He did not see the body of Jesus but believed. We would find out a little later of a lesson Jesus shares with us, the great Teacher He is, with the apostle Thomas, "Blessed is he who did not see but believed."(John 20:29) This hope is invigorated within us as Paul shares, "We look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen, for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal." (2Cor.4:18) But for the believer, the sons of God, the one that has the Spirit of God,(Rom.8:14), He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1Pet.1:3)

But with all the pain and suffering that is all around us in these days, can we still be sure that we will make it? Is this some kind of condemnation upon believers and non-believers alike? Surely not for believers, for "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."(Rom.8:1) So why does the believer have to endure so much suffering and heartache in the world such as losing health, finances, loved ones, and a host of other things? One of many reasons I am sure is found in Romans 8:17, "if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we also might be glorified with Him." This would not be just persecution suffering but all suffering. And suffering is worth it. Why we ask? The next verse in Romans 8:18 tells us "For I consider the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the glory that will one day be revealed in us." "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is."

And while we wait for His return, He is busy working for us, Octavious Winslow says, "He is incessantly pleading on your behalf, interceding for your well-being with a love that never falters, with uplifted hands that never weary, bending upon you a glance infinitely more tender and wakeful than the mother watching her sick and suffering babe."  "He always lives to make intercession for us."(Heb.7:25) There is good news always. Our hope began with the empty tomb, and it will continue forever because "in His presence there is fullness of joy and at His right hand pleasures forever more." (Psalm 16:11) Thus we can always remember to be "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing."(2Cor.6:10)

To finish and go back to where we started:
"But we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance brings about proven character; and proven character hope, and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:3-5

I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. (3John:2)