My last post was dedicated to the first of three words listed in 1 Cor. 13:13:
“Three things will last forever– faith, hope, and love– and the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13, NLT).
When our base layer is level and strong, more can be placed on top of it. If it is off kilter, the entire cake, with all of its layers, will be crooked and unstable. So it is with us in relation to the base layer of faith. If we put our faith in anything or anyone except our Heavenly Father, it will be off-kilter immediately, resulting in a crooked cake that will eventually fall. How’s your first layer? Level and stable or unlevel and shaky?
Romans 5:3-5 perfectly connects these two layers: “Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). 2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. 3 And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; 4 and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. 5 Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (AMP).
Look again at verse 5: “such hope never disappoints us” (emphasis mine).
Ever had a hope or dream that has left you disappointed when it didn’t pan out? Perhaps it was/is the hope of a child, the hope of adoption, the hope of a strong marriage, the hope of a cure, the hope of a promotion, the hope of recognition, the hope of fitting into that favorite pair of jeans again, the hope of living in your dream home, the hope of having perfect weather for that special outdoor event, the hope of _____________ (you fill in the blank).
Hoping isn’t bad. We were created to dream. We were created to hope. But so often, we get stuck hoping only for things that may or may not happen in this lifetime, and when they don’t happen, we get ruffled. Proverbs 13:12 states it perfectly: “Hope that is delayed makes you sad, but a wish that comes true fills you with joy,” (ERV). So often, our emotional state is tied directly to where we keep our ultimate hope. So where is yours?
Is your hope in your circumstances?
Is your hope in the people around you?
Is your hope in your stuff?
Is your hope in yourself?
Is your hope in Jesus?
If your ultimate hope is in anything except Jesus, the second tier of the cake is off-kilter. We know our circumstances can change in a minute: our lifestyle, our title, or our family unit. We know that the people in our lives will disappoint us: our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends. We know that stuff never fulfills our hope because we have a desire to continue seeking more stuff: a new car, new jeans, new shoes, new furniture, the list goes on and on. We know that we cannot possibly hope in ourselves, for that is sure to leave us disappointed: our health may fail us, our performance may at times be subpar or worse, our responses to others may come up lacking grace, a choice we make may turn out unfruitful, the list goes on and on.
There is one hope we can count on. One hope that we can safely cling to with complete assurance. His name is Jesus. He is coming back and bringing with Him a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no more mourning (for there will be no more death), no more crying (for there will be no more disappointment), and no more pain (Rev. 21:3-4). We will live forever in a place that is unimaginable with the King.
When He is our ultimate hope (the only hope that is sure to come) we can deal with the blows of disappointment of dashed hopes and dreams we have on this side of heaven. Romans 5:3-5 (shared above) reminds us that hardship produces patient endurance, and endurance produces proven character, and character produces hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. And “such hope never disappoints.”
Are you willing to lay each and every hope at the feet of Jesus? Are you willing trust Him with the outcome, regardless if it is one you were hoping for? Will you humble yourself enough to make your ultimate hope Jesus? He is hope and such hope never disappoints.
And for those of you who feel as though this layer of your cake is fairly level, here is an acronym to reach out to others who are struggling to find hope:
Reach out! Help them find their ultimate hope.