I recently read a post a guy wrote right after he left a worship service (not ours). He was frustrated with the fact that the entire service was focused on having hope during hardship. He didn’t want to be reminded of the difficulties going on in the world. He didn’t want to hear about struggles, persecution, and tragedy. Instead, he said, “I want to hear about hope without heartache.”
This thought led me to wonder about my own feelings. Isn’t that how I act sometimes? I want the hope of what is to come without having to experience the heartaches, the difficulties, the tragedies, and the hardships that come with life. Interestingly enough Paul speaks to this when he writes in Romans 8 that for us to fully experience the hope we have as adopted children of God, we will experience the sufferings of Christ as well (8:17).
The reality and inevitability of suffering can be difficult for us to acknowledge. Suffering is not something we long for in our lives. What we long for is hope guaranteed for all of us who are called according to His purpose (8:28). The hope that reminds us that nothing can separate us from the love of God (8:35-39).
The truth is there will come a day when we have hope without heartache (Revelation 21:4). A day when there will be no more night, no more weeping, no more sorrow. But until that day we must endure the pain so that we can reap the joy on the other side. We must experience the struggle so that we can enjoy the pleasure. To fully embrace the light, we have to know the harsh, cold reality of the darkness.
And we can give thanks to God, even in the heartaches and hardships because they remind us of our desperate need for Him. May we be driven to cling to Him more closely through the pain, knowing that He alone is the giver of hope.