God challenged me to consider how my expectations were being misplaced. Expectations come from wanting people to be a certain way. Hope is when everyone fails to meet your expectations and the belief that even when that happens, God won't disappoint. And hope is the belief that God can and will transform me and those around me.
... but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering brings about perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has as been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
In the progression of suffering to perseverance to character to hope we tend to get stuck in the suffering and have a hard time moving towards hope. Maybe it's because we hope in people and not Jesus. Instead we tend to move from suffering to disappointment to hardheartedness to bitterness to cynicism.
Perhaps one of the hardest things I've had to figure out in my faith is getting from suffering to perseverance. I was really challenged when I read a blog post recently - A Prayer of Indigenous People.
After again being shut out of key legislative discussions with evangelicals on the topic of immigration, Mark Charles had this to say:
I guess my only alternative is to go back to the drawing board and once again get down on my knees.
Wow. Some might call him naive. Others might get angry for him and the injustice he's experiencing. But I am floored and convicted by this perseverance, character, and hope. Talk about living out this scripture.
So I say to myself, if he can do this, then maybe so can I.