suffering–>perseverance–>character–>hope that does not disappoint
i have been sitting on this strange sequence of events paul talks about in romans. I hate the book of romans, but this one line has me floored the last few weeks. How can suffering really bring hope, and hope that won’t disappoint us? The whole essence of suffering is the disappointment of hope… perhaps the feeling that hope has betrayed us as just a dream only to be left more exposed to the consequences of our broken reality.
But perhaps suffering serves to exterminate and weed out hope that is false and hope that is real.
Hope. It seems like such a trick sometimes, almost like a positive psychology magic trick. I question the reality of hope sometimes.
But in the end, I need hope- not only for myself, but for those around me. Hope is a vision that another world is possible, even from the broken pieces of this world. Hope is beautiful. Even if it is an opiate to numb me from this world, hope is the only thing that gives me the ability to look straight into the face of broken reality and refuse to be affected by it, and instead, change reality itself. I need that. My friends need that. My students need that. MiraCosta needs that. San Diego needs that. hope. We long and strive for it.
Perhaps it is not hope that I struggle with… it is the ability to have agency and potency that has its foundation in hope- something that is so ethereal and fleeting at times. It’s easy to dream, but the world doesn’t really need to have more dreams. What it needs is dreams that won’t betray us to reality.
Jesus, help us believe in the dream of your kingdom again. May your kingdom come, your will be done. We are in desperate need of a hope that doesn’t betray us. The dreams of modernity, prosperity, unity, nationalism, fundamentalism, … they have failed us, and we don’t know what to dream of anymore. Revive the dream of your kingdom in our hearts again, and may we see it break through into our reality.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Aliens will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of their shame
my people will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
they will rejoice in their inheritance;
and so they will inherit a double portion in their land,
and everlasting joy will be theirs.
“For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery and iniquity.
In my faithfulness I will reward them
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.