by Julie Zine Coleman
Redecorating and I have a love/hate relationship. Since moving in, I have been erasing the 80’s décor and bringing my home into this millenium. But renovation comes at a price. I’m not just talking price-tag, although that can be enough to discourage anyone. The price I mean is the inevitable mess and hard labor necessary to make changes happen. During the time I’m working on a room, the rest of the house falls apart. I hate that. Stripping wallpaper, scrubbing paste off the walls, and painting are all physically exhausting. I fall into bed with aching muscles and throbbing joints. I hate that even more.
So it takes me a while make myself start a new project. I might love the results, but I dread the process. How do I eventually overcome the procrastination? I go shopping.
While slowly purchasing accessories and paint, I begin to get excited about the new room. My enthusiasm grows as things begin to take shape. What I once dreaded becomes a temporary hurdle I am willing to endure, because I now have a vision for how the room will look.
Sometimes inspiration is key to making things happen.
One of the most desirable character traits in the Bible is patience. That Greek word is defined as the capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty, or also, endurance. When Paul commended the Thessalonians for this, he revealed their motivation: “We continually remember. . .your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3 NASB, emphasis mine). The Thessalonians had patience. That patience was inspired by hope.
When we think of biblical characters exhibiting patience, Job often comes to mind. Here was a guy who lost everything. His children, livestock, house, barns, and good health were obliterated without warning. By the end of chapter 2, we find the man once called the “greatest man in the east” sitting by a fire, ashes on his head, clothes torn in mourning, pitifully scraping his sores with a piece of broken pottery. Yet throughout his agony, Job endured. He had the patience of. . . well, Job. And that patience was inspired by hope.
Job knew his God would show Himself triumphant in the end. “As for me,” Job said, “I know that my redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:26 NASB) Even while he felt that God was far from him, Job clung to what he knew to be true: “But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10 NASB).
Job’s hope was not in his circumstances, for they were clearly awful. Job’s hope rested on the God he loved. He knew nothing was too big for God to handle. He trusted God to use this terrible tragedy as a refining fire in his life. Hope in the character of God gave Job what he needed to endure the crushing blows he had been dealt by Satan.
“Why so downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God,” David wrote. Hope is an expectation that God will prove His faithfulness. It accepts God’s promise to never leave or forsake us. It is a conviction that even the worst of circumstances can be used by Him to conform us to the image of Christ.
We can wait on God, because He is who He is. When there is hope, we can endure.
The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:11 NASB
About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.
Join the conversation: What are the character traits of God that inspire your hope?