Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I hope you’re having a successful week. I am well aware that sometimes our days are filled with trials and tribulations. That’s when hope comes into play.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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: 1-5 NIV]
In The Message Bible, that word “hope” is translated as “in alert expectancy”. Isn’t that a wonderful phrase? Do you live in alert expectancy, looking for a brighter tomorrow? Or have you lost hope, as so many have?
I know all about that. I’ve endured depression and spiritual and physical weakness, when I felt completely incapable of enduring one more ounce of pain and sorrow.
If you examine the verses above, times like those build character, like steel in the forge. There are so many things in life I’d rather not experience, but if all of life was easy street, I’m not sure I’d have much to talk about. For one thing, that’s never going to happen. Everyone goes through difficulties in life. Some, more than others. You may question, “Why, me?”
One possible answer is found in scripture. Your character is revealed and strengthened by the forge of troubles, in much the same way as that mix of metals is heated white hot and pounded into the perfect instrument for use.
How do you endure such a test? By living in alert expectancy, giving God’s grace entrance into our lives. That grace is like the cold water the hot, newly-shaped steel instrument is dipped into. It cools the steel to the point it can be handled.
Okay, then how do you find this hope—this “alert expectancy”?
I renew my hope by reading passages such as the one above. I read encouraging scriptures, listen to worship and praise music, build myself up with devotionals. Listen to uplifting sermons. Take long walks and meditate. Spend time with loved ones. Spend time away. Get a mani-pedi. Go shopping. Whatever it takes.
There are times when I’m muddling through life, because I don’t have time to get away. I have too long a list of necessary things. I have people waiting on me to finish something. Do this, do that. And all the while, my heart is aching. I’m in mental and spiritual anguish that can result in physical pain.
Morning comes. I open the blinds to let in the bright sunshine and my heart is lighter. Hope is renewed. It’s baked fresh every morning, and its fragrance fills my spirit and lightens my load. I can do this. I CAN live in alert expectancy, waiting for the JOY that always follows.
In Rebecca’s Legacy, my protagonist goes through some character-building tribulations that lead her to examine her young life and reassess what’s really important. She discovers something that’s been there all along. The grace of God.
Too easy? I wouldn’t call what she endured easy.
Another character in the book goes through a trial-by-fire, too. For him, it’s an adjustment that changes his life path. That change sets to right so many things, giving not only him, but his entire family a brighter future.
So, if you knew ahead of time that what you are asked to endure for the present will result in a better future for yourself and your family, would you submit? Read that scripture passage a few times, until the words penetrate your heart and mind. Until you gain understanding. Look it up in The Message Bible and read it again. Let the Word of God build you, refine you, until you’re ready. Ready for what?
Your answer will come. Wait for it–in alert expectancy.
If you have time, please visit today’s interview with Margaret Kazmierczak. She marooned me on a desert island. You’ll find it here —the interview, not the island— Coffee, life and encouragement on the island couch.