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. Romans 5:5
In February of 2020, my beloved mother in law got some disturbing news. She possibly had uterine cancer. We all started praying and hoping for negative tests. But with each test, each imaging, we were disappointed. Our hopes for it being “just a thing” were dashed.
In my prayers I lifted her up to God as one of His very faithful daughters. And when the bad news came, I cried out to Him. It wasn’t fair. I couldn’t see why He would allow this to happen.
And as quickly as I cried out, He answered me. “I have a plan. You need to trust in me.” So, I rested my hope in patience and faith and the knowledge that God has been there for her in the past.
Such hope as is the fruit of faith, patience, and experience, namely, the full assurance of hope;Benson Commentary on Romans 5:5
When I read the verse from today, I wondered about the word, “shame.” The clarification I found was that Christian hope will not disappoint or be deceptive. God has proven Himself over and over of His faithfulness. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Jews and Christians in Rome, reminds us that even before we were willing to worship God fully He sent His son to die for us. Think about that. We didn’t have to prove ourselves to Him first.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8
He goes on to say if God would do this for us, how much more can we expect? How much more hope can we put in the fact that God will take care of us?
As a maturing Christian this idea of “hope” has gone through a transition in my thinking. And where I started mirrors what so many non-believers struggle with when looking at Jesus followers. “If I pray and hope that someone is cured and they aren’t, doesn’t that mean God’s not listening (or doesn’t care or maybe the person doesn’t deserve it?).” But friends, God’s plans are so beyond our own!
I truly believe that God allows us to experience trials so that we can change our perspective of what living a “good life” in the world means. We, through our experiences, can offer hope to others that they can come out the other side with renewed faith. And He uses people around us to show His love during difficult times.
Every single apostle, every single lover of God in the Old Testament went through extremely difficult times. It was their hope they placed in Him that sustained them. And it was their experiences that help us to remember He loves us.
As for my mother in law? Praise God that through surgery and chemotherapy her cancer was eradicated. But the message I got from God was that even if she succumbed to cancer, He still had her safely in His arms. Because that is the greatest message of hope that Jesus gave us. We are saved from wrath. We are saved from the sins of this world. And we will find a loving home for us waiting at the end.