Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 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. (NIV)
Hope is a choice. There are many things that feel forced upon us, but, we have a choice. Many of the things that happen to us every day are beyond our control, maybe most things. These produce thoughts and feelings that are unchosen. It seems we are helpless against these things, yet the Spirit has given us the ability to take captive our thoughts. We can’t always decide what thoughts pop up in our heads, but we do have a choice to keep these thoughts or let them go. And we have the power to conjure up thoughts we choose. And these thoughts have the power to change how we feel with time.
Our passage today unveils the path to hope. It begins in suffering.
When we suffer, we are forced to choose a response. We can respond to do nothing, but this is still a response. We can choose to give up or get angry. Or we can choose to persevere not allowing the suffering to steal our joy or love. If we allow the suffering to depress or anger us, our character will falter. We will become difficult to be around and unloving. To persevere is a choice to maintain our character even when we are hurting.
The underlying necessity to maintain our character in perseverance is a choice to continue in hope.
Hope is not like faith. Faith is the belief in something we can imagine. Hope is believing God will do something even though we can’t even see what could be done to rescue us from suffering.
Each day we choose hope, each day we choose to continue in perseverance maintaining our character, and our strength to resist the intended effect of suffering. The enemy desires our suffering to break our will and break our communion with God who gives us the strength to maintain our character. When we choose hope, suffering works to increase our hope and joy, but it is a choice.
Prayer: Lord, help me today and every day to choose hope, to respond to suffering with a resolve to maintain my character refusing to be broken by sadness or anger so that Your power may increase in me. Amen.