Re Today I listened to Terry Virgo preaching at Emmanuel Church in Brighton on grace online. It stirred my heart to hear this message once again. The grace message is a message that I have to keep coming back to in order to live in the good of the wonderful thing that Jesus has done for us. If there is one thing that grace gives us it is HOPE, and a hope that is not dependent on circumstances.
I was led after this to think of a passage from Romans 5 where the concepts of grace and hope come together clearly
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ro 5:1–5). Tyndale House Publishers.
How wonderful to think of the undeserved privilege of the grace of God being poured out for us! The death and resurrection of Jesus gives us an eternal hope which is unmoved by the various trials and tribulations we go through. Even the grief of losing a loved one feels different when it is mingled with hope. It is not that we do not grieve. We just grieve in a different way.
Real hope comes from believing God has lavished his grace on us in Christ Even in the middle of great suffering and disappointment where we may we feel like we are only just clinging on by our fingertips, this hope changes everything: https://t.co/zkCInQTEqD
— Adrian Warnock (@adrianwarnock) August 7, 2022
Emotions are real and we should not try and deny their existence. We do need to recognise how we are feeling, and face head long the challenges and real suffering we may be going through. But when we do that while also holding onto the hope that comes from believing God has lavished his grace on us in Christ, then even if we feel like we are only just clinging on by our fingertips, this changes everything.
Of course we sometimes feel disappointed. But our hope is there even in the midst of the deepest disappointments. I have experienced many different challenges in the last few years. And I have to say I did identify with every different type of disappointment that is spoken about in a podcast episode I listened to a while back from Andy & Cath Taylor, the International Directors of Ellel Ministries. Sometimes we are disappointed with what happens to us, sometimes with others, sometimes with ourselves and sometimes even with God himself. And yet in the midst of even great disappointment, hope is not lost. Learn more about dealing with disappointment here:
Hope ensures that ultimately we are never disappointed. Provided we put out hope in the right place. We do not hope in better days to come in this life necessarily, but that our Jesus is with us even in the bad days and does bless us whatever the world throws at us. And we understand that there will be good times and bad times during our time on earth. In fact when our eye is full of the wonder of the grace that has been given us and the fact that we will be part of an eternal glory with Christ then even the worst troubles begin to feel light and momentary.
And so in the midst of troubles we can thank God that like some kind of master chess player he is turning around everything for your good, even the most evil circumstances which we should never think he is the author of. So we do not thank God FOR all circumstances but we do thank Him IN all circumstances. Because as the verse explains suffering does in a mysterious way actually lead to our hope in an eternity with God being strengthened. We learn how to hope the most deeply when we are struggling in our greatest trials.
You know when God is speaking to you when a similar thing comes through a different source. Someone I know wrote the following this morning
“This hope is the Anchor in our soul realm, where our emotions are felt deeply, we can throw this anchor overboard in any storm and we do not drown in despair and nor sink into depression. Our ship is sailing in all weathers unharmed. Our hope is secure.And we are safe and sound regardless of the storm. When things are going well Jesus is our hope when life is dissapointing Jesus is still our hope. Our rock on which we stand. We can trust in him to fix what is broken and keep us in perfect peace. True contentment is not only found in the absence of problems, but even in the midst of any problems we face.”