Opportunity for an energized hope
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
The importance of true hope in our lives cannot be underestimated. It is one of the three great qualities our Father God wants to forge in the core of our character: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three. But the greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:13).
Here, Paul identifies “agape” (selfless, sacrificial giving of oneself) love as the most essential quality especially as touching how one uses the Spirit-giftings distributed to us. Faith is that quality that trusts in a God who rewards (Hebrews 11:6). Love is that quality that purposely gives to bless and impact others (1 John 3:16-18). Hope sits in between those two, at the heart of our lives (if you will), assuring us that the promised unseen will one day be revealed, and experienced. Some day, in God’s timing (hope insists) we will experience forever our full adoption as God’s “sons.”
So, a third reason our Father purposefully allows tough stuff in the course of our living is to intensify our hope. What we may presently encounter is not all there is, nor all that will be. Hope lamps our spirit when stepping our way down and through what may feel like a darkening cave. This light, somewhere at the end of such tunnels, is given to burn brightly within. God’s promises bring comfort in suffering (2 Cor.1:7). Hope generates boldness about what we believe and share with others (2 Cor. 3:12). Hope clings to a glorious inheritance ahead (Eph.1:18). Hope — genuine hope — is what is missing in those who do not have God’s promises found in Christ (Eph. 2:12). Our hope is “laid up” in heaven (Col.1:5); Christ Jesus himself in us today means there is glory tomorrow (Col.1:27).
Go ahead, groan. Yearn not for what is but for what will be. The Holy Spirit loves to crescendo in you — especially in the darkest moments — the song of anticipation for all that will be ours in Christ.