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Why You Should Get Your Hopes Up

By Andrea Lucado


The Bible is notorious for turning things upside-down. Jesus did this all the time. He took a social or cultural expectation and claimed the opposite was true:


“The last shall be first” (Matt. 20:16).

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3).

“Blessed are those who are persecuted” (Matt. 5:10).


This is what Paul does with our view of hope. Typically, we feel hopeful when things start to go well. Our hope is usually tied up with our circumstances, but in Romans, Paul turns this upside-down. He says, “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” (Rom. 5:2-5).


What produces hope? Character that we build as a result of persevering through suffering. In other words, ultimately, suffering produces hope.


This is a counterintuitive belief. What we typically feel in the midst of suffering is anything but hope. We feel despair or anger or sadness, not hope, but what Paul is saying is that what typically produces hopelessness can produce hope for those who are in Christ.


The entire narrative of Christ’s life and ministry is a testament to this. Jesus was born in underprivileged circumstances, to a common family. He spent three years traveling and sharing the message of God’s Kingdom, only to be criticized by those of his own faith, and was ultimately killed at their command.


Suffering marked his life.


Yet, the greatest hope is also found in Jesus’ story. His resurrection after death proved once and for all that no circumstance is without hope. By the power of God, he defeated even death. The greatest suffering led to the greatest hope.


This is what Christians can cling to in the midst of suffering. Suffering is not meaningless. Suffering is doing something in you. It is building your character. It is increasing your ability to persevere. It is parallel to Christ’s own story, and in this we can have hope.


Paul goes even further to say that this type of hope—the hope produced by suffering—does not put us to shame. A godly hope does not disappoint because it isn’t dependent upon our circumstances. It is rooted in the love God has put into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. When the core of our hope is in God’s love, we don’t have to worry about “getting our hopes up.” His love will always be there.


Whatever you’re facing today, may you be filled with a godly hope. May you remember the suffering and glory of Jesus Christ. And may you be confident that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame.



Read more of what Paul has to say about hope and the life of our Christ in our newly updated study Romans: Making Men Good.