Hope for Christians means that we are sure as we face the future. Paul says in Romans 5:5, “Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (NIV).
A spouse may disappoint us, a child may disappoint us, an employee may disappoint us, or a church leader may disappoint us, but God will never disappoint us. We can have New Testament hope--overwhelming confidence--that God will be God at the end of the day. Love stimulates certainty of Christian hope.
Paul says that love believes all things, trusts all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Hope looks to the final victory of Jesus Christ that Scripture promises. Love endures to the end.
Yet endurance does not set due dates. Endurance is the power to keep hoping without an end in sight. Despair comes from deadlines set too early and hope defined too narrowly. Love always endures.
What happens if after all the believing and all the trusting and all the hoping, the ones we pray for still fail? We hang in there anyway. We endure to the end. We say, “Lord if they never make it, I will. If they never love you, I will. If they never love each other as I long for them to love each other, I will love them all anyway.” The word translated “endure” is hupemono and is a military term. The idea is to endure hardship like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
During the Second World War, the HMS Eskimo was torpedoed and literally sliced in half. Half of it sank immediately. The boat had been built in two halves for this very reason, so half a ship came home.
It seemed that all of England was waiting on the dockside to welcome what was left of the HMS Eskimo! The surviving half of the shop limped into port with the sailors standing erect and saluting as the national anthem was played.
So shall some of us come home to God. As we live our lives for Jesus, motivated and activated by love, we shall endure to the end because that’s what love does. Love never gives up! When we arrive at home port, standing erect and saluting our Commanding Officer, the bands will be playing and the flags will be flying for us. What a royal welcome that will be!
There is a story of a husband and wife who gave their lives for the Lord in a hardship post on the mission field, far from home and family. At the end of their career, with their health broken, they returned on a shop with many other passengers from foreign parts. They had served their mission with distinction and were excited to come home to their reward.
But the messages about the time of their return were lost, and the reception party and their remaining family members mistook the day of their arrival. When the boat drew near the dock, the old couple scanned the waiting crowds eagerly, looking for a familiar face or a mission banner welcoming them home. They watched the red carpet being rolled out for some entertainers who were on board. Still they saw no one they knew.
Now the rest of the passengers were being greeted and feted. Bands played, fireworks were set off, and flags flew. But not for them.
The old couple, bewildered and hurt, was the last to disembark. Not one person greeted them. There were no medals, and no speeches were made in their honor. There was no reception after a lifetime of service. Overcome with grief, they held each other tightly, trying to make sense of it all.
“What a welcome home,” sobbed the wife. The husband, his own heart breaking, put his arms around her, and they stood there together swaying in their disappointment and grief. Then each of them individually heard an unmistakable voice deep in their heart. It said the same thing to both of them as clear as a bell, as only the still small voice of God can.
You’re not home yet!
They looked at each other with joy dawning. “Did you hear it?” they asked each other. And then they both were crying tears of gratitude. There would be another journey on another day, not too far in the future, when they would steam into port looking like HMS Eskimo! Half their lives blown away on the mission field for the love of Jesus, and that would be all right. They would be truly home! This then would be their exceeding and great reward.
Love always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Do you need to learn to love and trust again? Look to God who alone can give you that love. For this you need Jesus. For this you have Jesus.
Just Between Us Magazine