Where Hope Grows

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When bad things come your way, allow it to be a place where hope and character grow.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (Romans 5:3–4)

Through hardship, our hope will grow. That almost sounds contradictory. It seems the best hothouse for hope would be a trouble-free life, without threats or storms. Everything would be nice and tidy and clean. But that is not the case. The best place for hope to grow, believe it or not, is actually in adversity.

As Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome,

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3–5)

Did Paul just use the words “problems” and “trials” in the same paragraph as “how dearly God loves us”? But wait. If God loved us, wouldn’t He remove the problems and the trials? Maybe. And maybe He won’t. That is up to God, according to what needs to happen in your life.

When Lazarus, a personal friend of Jesus’, was ill, his sisters Mary and Martha sent word to Him: “Lord, your dear friend is very sick” (John 11:3). The Bible tells us that when Jesus heard this news, He intentionally delayed His trip. So by the time He got to Bethany, Lazarus was already dead.

Yet the Bible includes an interesting detail: “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days” (verse 5–6).

Jesus waited, because He wanted to do something even greater than what they wanted. They wanted a healing. But He wanted a resurrection.

And the big picture, the ultimate purpose, is God’s glory—not our happiness.

Summary sentence: Adversity can be a place where hope and character grow!

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