March 20th, 2016

Through Perseverance We Can Experience Much

Hope and the Grace of God

cross19In the things that we find that we cannot do, God is more than enough. To our inadequacy, God responds with lavish grace. Paul discovered this grace to be greater than any season of suffering. Three times he had asked God for deliverance from a certain trial. He records god’s response for us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” To which Paul responded. “Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

Hope and the Protection of God

The uncertainties of life can fill our hearts with terror. But when we persevere by faith, we will discover that God is our protection even in the darkest times. Our safety in Christ gives us hope through His power, for followers of Christ are those “who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5)

The power of God is such a ready source of hope that it caused the psalmist to worship:

“But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your loving kindness in the morning. For You have been my stronghold and refuge in the day of my distress.” (Psalm 59:16)

We do not have to approach life with a heart of dread or despair. We can engage life with confident expectation. Christ has mad sure of that with the love that he poured out for us on the cross.

Hope and the Provision of God

According to the writer of Hebrews, because Jesus understands our weaknesses and temptations, we are to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Grace. Protection. Provision. Together they are sources of hope that we don’t fully comprehend until we experience them amid conditions that threaten to destroy us. Yet looking back we can say with Paul, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not despairing, persecuted, but not forsake, struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

The reality that Paul expressed is an honest reminder that followers of Christ are not immune from heartaches, turmoil, challenges, and struggles. We will experience the “many dangers, toils, and snares,” but not like those who have no God and no hope. Because of the object of our faith followers of Christ are people of genuine hope.

Reflection

How can you find a way to give hope to someone who might feel hopeless?

Prayer

Crucified Lord, the passion of your cross teaches us the meaning of your final act of love and the giving of hope to us all. We look to your cross and you gather us as your freed and forgiven people. May this gathering of disciples around the cross encourage us to listen to your word, allow it to penetrate our hearts, and put it into practice in our daily lives.

Amen

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