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I came across Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV) the other day. And an excitement started bubbling inside me like a low boil when I came to the phrase, “...hope does not disappoint.” Wouldn’t that make an awesome book title?
So what kind of hope is Romans talking about? Does it pertain to achieving writing aspirations? Getting an agent? Getting on the New York Times bestsellers list? Not really.
So why am I bringing it up in a writers’ blog? Because this hope is why we can confidently say we are not just writers, but Christian writers. We don't put pen to paper just for ourselves. We create stories to tell people about a hope that does not disappoint. The story might be fiction, but not the hope and not the One who gives us that hope.
Romans 5:1-5 says "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
For me it is a lot easier to be excited about what will be than what you have to go through to get there. And yet verses 3 & 4 say we can also rejoice through the journey, even when it's really hard.
Tribulation in the original Greek means a pressing, pressing together, pressure; metaphorically oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits.
When I apply this definition to writing, it sounds a lot like how I feel when I’m under a deadline. Can anyone else relate?
Perseverance is replaced with "patience" in the KJV which means steadfastness, constancy, endurance. I can't count how many times I've heard well established writers say it's consistency that gets a book done.
Character can mean "a proof or a specimen of tried worth." I get the concept of tried worth, but not so much what a "proof" is. So I looked it up, too. Apparently, a proof, when it is in a state or quality of being tried or tested, is something that results in unyielding hardness.
I've never thought of being hard as a good quality for a Christian. I typically equate "hard" with hard-heartedness and stubbornness; negative qualities God always warned
about. In this context, though, I see character more as unflinching faith,
immovable, difficult to destroy. In this context, developing an unyielding
hardness of will, of belief, is a good thing because it comes out of a joyful
and confident expectation of eternal salvation which is the definition of hope.
I've always thought of hope as wishful thinking. I was wrong. Looking at the all the things that happen to produce hope, I can't help but liken it to how diamonds are formed. It is under intense pressure and high heat that bits of carbon are transformed into the hardest natural material on Earth.
Does this excite you as much as it excites me? We haven’t been dubbed by believing in God, by trusting Him. We have an unyielding, hard-as-diamonds hope that does not disappoint. How do we know this? Because of the love God has poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. He didn't give us His love by the teaspoon. He has lavished us with His love by pouring it into us by His Spirit.
We can be confident and joyful through the hard times because we know God is not a man that He would lie. He will make good on all His promises. Our Hope does not disappoint.
Dear Heavenly Father, help us remember who you are and all that you have promised. Give us the courage to believe you and live lives that reflect that belief. May our stories tell your story and fill readers with hope so they, too, will not be disappointed. May all we do and say bring glory to your name both now and forever. Amen.
Humbly submitted by H.T. Lord