Future glory – present hope. What a marvelous promise. In a time when most of the United States is under a shelter-in-place order, it is good to know there is hope. As believers in Jesus Christ, we always maintain hope. It takes work to maintain hope. We read Scriptures and believe God will do what He says He will do — that maintains hope. G.K. Chesterton stated, “Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all…As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.” When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we are able to remain hope-filled, and see our strength grow and flourish.
1) Hope in Suffering
Though there are things we may be suffering today, we have hope that God will keep His promises to us. In Romans 8:28 we see the words “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes for them.” (NLT). To be clear, God does not cause our present suffering (James 1:3), but He will use them for our good. His promise is true — He works for our good. This is an active verb, “works.” Therefore, in spite of a trying circumstance, He is working for our good. Because God is working in us and for us, our hope increases.
Why does God allow suffering? First, suffering is a natural response to living in a fallen world. We are imperfect people who live in a broken and hurting world. Until Christ comes in His fullness, we will continue to see sin and suffering around us. But, here is the beauty — God uses suffering to draw people to Him. He wants to be in relationship with all people (2 Peter 3:9). Some people respond to the goodness and blessings of God; while others respond best in times of suffering.
Finally, suffering causes us to have a greater dependence upon God. It is in dependence that growth flourishes. Hope increases as we depend upon God. What a beautiful cycle that is! Psalm 73:26 is an encouraging verse for times of suffering. “My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (ESV)
2) Hope of Glory
We live in need of hope, every day. God wants us to experience His Kingdom here on Earth, but also gives the promise of one day spending eternity with Him in Heaven. That is the hope of glory. Romans 8:18-21 states, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (ESV) One day, creation itself will be restored to glorious perfection.
The glory that will one day be revealed to us will make today’s sufferings seem insignificant. That is hard to wrap our brains around. When we look around and see people hurting, it is difficult sometimes to believe that any of this will be worth it. However, a quick look at history will help us to gain a better perspective that when people come to the place where they cry out to God, God answers in a mighty way. 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 says, “Then if my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.” (NLT).
What a powerful promise God is giving! IF we repent, IF we cry out to God, IF we turn. There is great hope in that statement — both present and future. God wants us to experience His presence every day. He wants to shine His glory upon us. The more holy we are, the more of God’s goodness we see, and the more of His glory we show. Further, the stronger our faith and hope will become.