“Hope makes all the difference.” – Pastor Billy R. Johnson
Generally, on a pathway there are mile markers to let us know how far we have traveled and how close we are to our destination. As we journey on this Pathway to Hope we will examine the mile markers along the way to our final destination of hope. Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised. Hope is something that distinguishes Christians. The scripture of Romans 5:1-5 indicates that we should not only rejoice in hope, but we should glory in tribulation as well, for tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance brings about character and character brings about hope. These are the mile markers to the final destination of hope.
1st Mile Marker: Tribulation
Romans 5:3 – And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”
“We cannot miss the privilege of a problem.” – Pastor Billy R. Johnson
Tribulation is not something we hope for, but the experience of trials does a work in us. It is the troubles that let us know we are on the path to a destination. The trials are inevitable and indiscriminate, but when trouble comes that experience is producing something in us. Therefore, it is not the purpose to simple go through a trial, but we also have to grow through our trials. This will produce something that we will need at our next mile marker.
2nd Mile Marker: Perseverance
Trials and tribulation teach us that despite the difficulties, despite the failures, and against the opposition, our efforts have to continue, developing in us the ability to bare under and persevere. After going through and growing through tribulations, we gain the capacity to carry the load, ensuring that the weight of it all will not crush us. These experiences are taking you to the endurance level.
Hebrews 10:36 – “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:”
It takes endurance to walk in love. We ultimately benefit from the endurance. That endurance and perseverance is producing something, just as tribulation did. When we experience the trouble and learn how to endure, it produces a character.
3rd Mile Marker: Character
“People don’t know what you’re made of until there is a press on you.” – Dr. D’Ann Johnson
Philippians 2:22 – “But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.”
God wants to build a proven character. When we experience tribulation and learn how to persevere it produces a character. That character gives us the ability to respond differently when life pushes on us. Character is a critical piece, for character is who we are when no one is watching. It is the choices we make seen and unseen, with a just knowledge and a loving intent.
Final Destination: Hope
Romans 5:5 – “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
“It is our benevolent love of God that changes our response to everything.” – Dr. D’Ann Johnson.
When we arrive at the destination of having hope, it is the favorable expectation that says, I see you through a lens that is different than how I would have been able to see you before. When you have gone through a press, and experienced trials you are less likely to look at others through a lens of judgement. That pathway to hope builds in us a capacity to see with love, understanding, and favorable expectations that ultimately lead to our ability to uplift one another. When we arrive at this destination of having hope and being hope filled, the question is then posed, After people have left our presence…how do they feel about themselves? When you have hope, you can and should dispense hope in others.
In closing, none of these places or mile markers are the actual destination. But at each stop there is an element that is preparing us for the final destination and all that we need to walk in the promise of God.