Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:1-5, ESV
Early in my faith walk, Romans 5:1-5 was a passage that spurred me on daily. It translated into a simple encouragement that strengthened me: Keep building on everything God has given you. Keep moving. Keep growing.
Somewhere along my long, winding road, I stopped feeding myself regularly on the words that strengthened me. I keep getting tired. Exhausted, really. Completely drained. At which point, I become disheartened because I keep falling into weariness. Next in the cycle is questioning God about the purpose of all the struggles, pain and rejections that suck the life from my faith and the joy from my life.
Then one morning, when my heart was light and open after a beautiful greeting from a stranger on the street, I read this passage on my commute. And like every other time I have read it, I was encouraged.
I was reminded.
But this time, I cried a little.
It’s because of the hope poured into my heart that I’ve struggled and been disappointed. It’s because of that hope that I’ve hurt so much. It’s because of this hope that I’ve experienced so much rejection repeatedly. It is also because of God’s hope that I return repeatedly to be refueled and re-activated in my service by His Word.
Yes, though I may feel like a fool, my Father’s Word tells me that my hope will not shame me. Hope, itself, produced from struggles, is a gift and a blessing.
I want to believe that.
I choose to believe it.