Terry R. Baughman
“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV).
We hope for that which we do not hold. Paul said, “In this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:24–25). So our hope enables us to continue, to endure patiently, expecting the reward of fulfilled hopes in a future day. Hope is the driving force that picks us up and motivates us to endure difficult situations in the firm belief that we will overcome them.
Paul spoke of suffering and the endurance, even the embracing of suffering, when we recognize the future results of it. He said, “We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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.” (Romans 5:2–5 NIV). Our hope is inspired by the love God continually shows us through the gift of His Spirit.
God is love and He is our hope. Paul prayed, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). With God we have hope. Without Him we are hopeless!
In Paul’s chapter on love we are reminded that “love … always hopes.” There is a perpetual and enduring quality in love that dares to hope when all is lost. Paul reminded us that as Gentiles we were once, “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). That was our condition … before. Before Christ came. Before He paid the ultimate price in Calvary’s sacrifice. Before God demonstrated His love for us. Before Jesus brought us in, that was the plight of all those outside of the covenant of promise. Paul went on to say, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Those who were far off without Christ, without hope, and without God in the world are now given the greatest and most present hope. We are near Him and we have hope. Love always hopes!
Let our love be pure and always sincere. Again Paul said, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:9–11).
We are encouraged to be joyful in hope and persevere. With steadfast determination we cling to what is good and continuously pray in hope. Nothing is impossible, nothing is beyond our reach and unattainable in our goals. Never give up, never give in, never quit loving.
Love always hopes!
“Love … rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.…” (1 Corinthians 13:6–8 NIV).