The past week has been book-ended by dealing with bouts of illness – comforting the sick one, cleaning up the yuckies, watching to see who else is going to get it, doing more laundry than you can imagine and hand-washing like it’s my job! All while the baby is cutting teeth. Thankfully it has worked out that my husband could be home so we could work as a team! Definitely God’s grace.
I suppose there is some irony here though, because as I was reflecting on the Advent theme of Hope, the phrase “hope does not disappoint” came to mind. So I looked it up, and here’s what I found:
Romans 5:1-5 NIV –
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
How do we find true hope? Apparently through suffering, which produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and then, in turn, character produces hope.
Nothing worth having comes easy.
This Sunday we’ll light the first candle and reflect on the Advent theme of Hope. Whatever downright ugly thing you happen to be in the middle of this week, know this: it isn’t for nothing.
I can almost hear my mother saying, “Stephanie, this is building your character”, to which I would grimace and often reply, “I have enough character already.”
That’s the thing though – there is something beautiful that happens in the midst of difficulties as we persevere. The process of building character reveals that our hope is in the glory of God, and could never be anywhere else. Everything else will disappoint – but hope in Him does not put us to shame.
Because His love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit – and He was given to us as a gift, so we are never alone in the thing we are facing.
Isn’t that just about enough to knock your socks off?
Yes and amen!