… and endurance produces character, and character produces hope… -Romans 5:4
Ugh. I was kinda hoping that I could skip the endurance part. Is there any other way to get character? There must be an iPad app for character somewhere… Is there a way to develop character that does not include endurance? I'd like to pass on the endurance part. Endurance equals perseverance. Perseverance equals per (through) + severe (ugh!)
Come to think of it, then… I'd like to skip the character part too… and just move on to hope. Can I just grab a bag of hope and hold on to it for those times when I need it? Is there a way to develop hope that does not include character? Character equals integrity. Integrity equals inte (webbed) + grit (tough courage!). [Yes, I know, integrity carries an idea of complete, undivided integrated soundness… but it takes incredible fortitude to pull off such a life! Almost as if integrity can only come from incredible endurance or something. :)]
And don't even remind me about the verse in front of this one (verse 3!)… because I can't deal with the fact that all of these things first come from suffering… which we rejoice in. That's too much. Who wrote this stuff?
I met a man yesterday who wanted hope… but he didn't want to wait for it… he didn't want to learn it… and he didn't want to change his behavior for it. He didn't want community, he didn't want accountability, he didn't want to seek real help… but he certainly needed all of these things. No, this man just wanted God to give him hope… hope without cost… hope without change… hope without consequence.
Hope is not a trivial whim. Hope is deep and it is difficult to come by. Hope costs. Hope is something that rests in the center of one's life, not in the whisps of our fingertips… or the twinkle twinkle of a little star.
Hope comes from something… something forever true and forever good. Hope kindles in fire and emerges from death. Hope erupts in the pain and deepens in the toil. Hope shelters in storms and intensifies in war. Hope fuels passion and it is fueled by the Passion.
Hope is not cheap… and it will never reside with the cheapskate.