Let me ask you, what do you do in your relationships when the storm clouds come? Think about your dreams and your aspirations – your expectations – maybe it’s to be married, or to go to a certain school, or have a certain job, or have children, or live a long and healthy life. And sometimes those dreams become reality and sometimes they don’t.
And when reality doesn’t meet our expectations, our hope and dreams and aspirations get beat up and the storm clouds of disillusionment start to crowd into our heart. And when this happens it pushes out the primary climate changer, shaper and influencer in all of our relationships – HOPE.
A key in the hope building process is that in the midst of the storm clouds of this life don’t deny reality, deal with reality. And how we deal with reality will set the climate of our relationships and the climate dictates the forecast.
Paul writes in Romans 5 how to have hope. It starts with expectations, which when unmet lead to suffering. And then suffering gives us the strength to go on (perseverance) and perseverance produces character and character produces hope. God gives us this pattern of hope to build hope into our lives.
We all have expectations – expectations of what this life will be like, how we should be treated by those closest to us, how our career should go, what grades we should get. Now sometimes these expectations are realized, and sometimes they are not. And reality sets in – when that happens we are led to a season of suffering.This is where many people give up and give up on God. This is when you file for divorce, when you quit your job, when you give up on your friendship, when you drop out of school. This is where Hope goes out the window. But some people, those who stay on the hope trail, see the storm clouds as one of those things God uses to build our relationships with Him and with others and so those people persevere. When the going gets tough, they keep going, they keep figuring it out, they keep going to counseling, they keep lines of communication open, they stick with the dead end job until they get a clear word from God, they keep going to class. And those who keep at it, God deepens His character in them. And this kind of suffering persevering character produces hope. This is all part of the process.
God builds on the realities we face – it’s not about denying reality, putting on some happy smile when life sucks, but it’s dealing with reality. Because without hope the heart gets sick, but when there is hope it creates a healthy heart which creates a healthy climate and climate dictates the forecast of our relationships.
Hope for hope today.