Journey: July 2014

Journey: July 2014

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:2b-4

Paul says that we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

I think that it’s interesting that he doesn’t say that we rejoice in the glory of God, but in the hope of it.  It’s the mystery, the intangible unseen “not yet” that we look to and rejoice in.  This is the posture of vision.  We rejoice today, because we have this “not yet” hope.

But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because they produce more of this “not yet” hope.  Watch the progression.  We begin by rejoicing in hope, the hope of the glory of God.  It’s our first orientation.  Then we suffer.  In our suffering we maintain our first orientation – rejoicing.  In our suffering we learn to persevere.   Consider this for a moment.  Is it possible that this is not the grit your teeth and push yourself through the pain by enormous effort type of perseverance, but is in fact a perseverance in hope?  Suffering, if we will allow it, teaches us to live out of our first orientation – we rejoice in hope. And this builds character.

Again, I suspect that Paul had so much more in mind than the character of appropriate moral living when he pens these words.  Perseverance builds a character of hope.  We become people whose lives are built on the vision.  We live looking for the glory of God to be revealed…in us, in our family, our neighbors, the church and the world.  Our character becomes defined by the hope; by the surety that the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises is on the way.  And this character, which is looking to the “not yet” produces the very thing that sparked the process.  It produces hope.

We now live knowing, believing, trusting, rejoicing that God will fulfill His promises; that He will get glory for His name.  He will complete the work that He began.  We will be transformed into the image and likeness of Christ.  And we, having preserved in hope through the dark nights and the formation of our character (as ones whose lives are defined by hope), now find ourselves in that place where we once again rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.