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)What is hope? If in suffering we find God, and from God we are given the grace of the ability to endure, and from endurance, our character is changed, and from that, we find hope - what is hope?
Hope is the certainty of the presence of God. Hope isn't a wish - it's not like, "I hope it doesn't rain." Hope is another word whose meaning has changed because of Christ. We have hope because "God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Christian hope is the certainty that God is with us, present and active in the world. And it is the certainty that God loves us. This is hope, and it comes as a gift from God.
Don't hear me wrong. No where in these four posts have I said that God brings us - causes our - suffering so that we will develop hope. I don't believe that; in fact, I think this passage says that isn't true. What is true is that we will all face suffering. What is true is that God will not allow us to suffer alone. God gives us the grace of God's presence, strength and hope.
That's really good news.