Last week I sat and listened as a friend of mine spoke to one hundred and fifty, predominately twenty and thirty year old’s about hope. For many the message was a ‘word in season’. Having ‘intentionally ‘moved into some of the ‘toughest neighbourhoods’ in the nation believing that they would see God bring salvation and community transformation, some were growing weary. For others, their hope was gone!
In his letter to the Romans, Paul gives us great advice to those of us who are struggling. Paul shares with us how God is at work in our lives even when we do not see, what we want to see realised and within the time-frame we determine! In Chapter 5:4, the Apostle writes; ‘we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope.’ Although I love the fact that Paul rejoices ‘in’ and not ‘because’ of his suffering, I am also grateful that this suffering is not in vain. Rather, God in his grace uses our suffering in order to fashion us into those people in whom hope endures despite the circumstances. Praise God then that Paul concludes, ‘and hope does not put us to shame (disappoint, disillusion or deceive us), because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’. In light of this, I encourage you to be encouraged and to allow God to transform you into someone who overflows with HIS eternal hope.