“Romans 5:2And 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.”
Hope—it’s become a four letter word in our society today because of all it represents. Though hope in itself is seen as a good thing, the connotations it brings along with it can be seen as troublesome. I mean think about it, doesn’t having hope imply that something is absent? It is the opposite of fear, and yet it cannot exist without it. However, Paul writes that it should be something to boast about. It is particularly interesting to notice the aspects that build up to hope in this passage: suffering, perseverance, and character. It doesn’t sound like the typical things we like to boast about it. I have to think about where Paul must have been coming from with this one. Paul knew more suffering in his life than most anyone. How did he make it sound so clean and easy though? Have you ever been sharing your burdens with someone, and they’ll just try to cheer you up immediately…just say, “it’ll be ok!” A lot of times that bothers us because our suffering is so painful for us. It brings me back to the question “so why should we boast?”
I think Paul understood something many of us don’t want to accept: that through our painful times, we grow so much more than we would by avoiding pain. Often we think of our pain as unfair. I know I’ve often thought, “God why did you turn my life upside down? Did you forget about me in this mix? Doesn’t it matter to you that I’m hurting now?” Sometimes our suffering blinds us to what God is trying to do. In all my own transitions and suffering, I’ve learned that just because I’m suffering doesn’t mean God forgot me. He sees every tear; He knows every thought. But through my suffering He is growing me. He is building perseverance and character in me. And yes, He even gave me hope…hope that one day, life won’t be so confusing and unknowable. I hold on to this hope, and even relish in it. I can’t pretend it doesn’t bring fear along with it, but this I know: I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken, or His seed left begging for bread.