Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 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 5:1-5
When you look at those verses altogether, it would make perfect sense that "Hope" would be the word that follows "Refuge" and "Enough". All the problems and trials that I have had in these past few years HAVE helped me develop endurance and have strengthened my character. Now, I need to progress to being strengthened by my "confident hope of salvation." I want to increase in faith; being secure in Christ and comforted by the fact that I'm filled with love by the Holy Spirit. God will not disappoint me and it's ALWAYS safe to hope in Him!
Another verse that kept coming to my mind is this one:
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. - 2 Corinthians 4:7-9That definitely screams "hope" to me! I have been feeling every bit like a fragile clay jar. Yet, I am filled with the great treasure that is the Holy Spirit. No matter what has happened, He fills me and never abandons me. He builds me up and restores me. Always.
Next, something else came to my mind. I happened to think about a gift that was recently given to me by my friend, Anita. It was a cross with a word on it. "The word is 'hope' isn't it?" I said to myself. Yep, it sure is; and it has Romans 5:5 on it (as well as Philippians 1:20).
I journaled all of it later in the day and went to biblehub.com to look up the word: ἐλπὶς elpis . It seemed that "hope" was indeed my word. Nevertheless, I asked God if he could make one of those verses show up somewhere in the next few days; so I could be extra sure. Or, if the number 1680 (the number in the concordance) showed up, that would be cool too. Up until today, I hadn't seen any further confirmation, and I was telling myself, "Melissa, you already know. It's 'hope.' Why are you fighting it?" I know very well why. It's because of all the times I DO hope and things don't work out. "But that's just the people and things of this world. That's not where your hope is anyways," I told myself. Yes, I know that. Maybe that's exactly why I need this word. I was reminded of this in the movie "Slumberland", which I watched this weekend for only the second time since it came out (and I highly recommend it!). You may not get the dream you want, but you're going to get the dream you need. "Hope" isn't the word I really wanted, but it's most certainly the one I need. It's basic, simple, and beautiful; and those aren't bad things. In fact, Andy is right:
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
"Hope" isn't meant to be an overused word or cliche. True hope is much deeper than that. It's time to really rest and soak in the REAL hope. Jesus is my hope NOW and for all eternity. He is with me NOW; and I'll also be with Him whenever I go home (or when He comes back for me/us; whichever comes first). I will NOT be disappointed! All the people, things, and cares of this life will all be gone, but my eternal hope is always real and certain.
Today is the first day of this new year; 365 days of new opportunities and each of those days that we get is a gift from the Lord! As a wonderful bonus, God did confirm that verse for me once more as I was looking back at this old post of mine about Red and Andy for this post. I also had the pleasure of seeing this post in my Facebook memories. There's no doubt about it! I can be confident of my hope, which is Christ, and look forward to all that is to come:
For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.
- Philippians 1:20.So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
Grace and peace to you, my friends! I genuinely HOPE and pray that this will be a blessed year for us all! Our "hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." On Christ the solid rock we stand, all other ground is sinking sand! Stay anchored! He is our firm foundation! Amen! God bless you!