“And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:4-5
If you’ve been around this world any length of time, you understand that life is full of ups and downs, joys and heartaches, blessings and trials. We collectively go through things – pandemics, economic downturns, wars – and there are the deeply personal trials of abuse, rejection, and tragedy. It’s all there, coming and going, affecting our heart, mind, soul, and body.
We bring these things with us, even as we have recently celebrated Easter.
Did you grow up getting a brand-new springy Easter dress, shiny shoes, and hat? Or did you love the movie Easter Parade, which is based on the East coast tradition of parading the sidewalks in your Easter best outfits? The idea of having a fresh new dress for Easter dates back to European celebrations of the holiday, where it represented newness of life, similar to the symbolism of the Easter egg. To this day, you can go to Fifth Avenue in New York City and watch the often-outlandish Easter Bonnet Parade.
These traditions point to a deeper truth that Paul was trying to teach the Romans when he wrote to them of the trials and tribulations. Enduring all the hard – the pandemics, economic downturns, wars – will result in the kind of character that knows how to hope.
God’s hope is not about a better tomorrow. It’s about a better eternity.
Christians do not naively parade their hopes through a life of bitter disappointment. No, Christians don their hope in a flamboyant show of the promise of new life in Jesus and an eternity that will be free from pain, tears, and shame.
We aren’t fully clothed in it yet but can put on pieces of the newness of our life of Christ. It’s not ignoring the hard and hurtful. It’s acknowledging that the final victory has been won in Jesus, and all things are being made new. God is in the very act of restoring everything to how He always intended.
This is our hope. This is why, in the midst of uncertainty and difficulty, Christians can hope beyond what might seem reasonable. We hope in the ongoing-already-completed-watch-Him-work salvation of Jesus Christ.
Did you wear your Easter best this year? Maybe even an Easter hat? (By all means, send pictures!) When you think back to what you put on last Sunday, think today again about putting on the newness of life in Christ, your hope. Our hope in Jesus will never disappoint, for we know that one day we will see a new heaven and new earth, and every tear will be wiped away.
It will be like Easter – Everyday.
What hardships are you and those you know personally suffering?
How can you pray to ask God to enter in anew with hope?
What one action and word can you do this week, just one, to bring God’s hope to one person?