On my way home, I called an Uber driver. As we entered, he gave us a sanitizer, sprayed some on our hands and started lamenting of life. We proceeded to lay our disappointments with regards to how the government didn’t take immediate measures to curb Coronavirus from entering the borders of Kenya by the agency of man. Being an older man, he reminded us that our hope should be on nothing but God.
Days letter when all started crumbling down and the government encouraged companies to have their employees work from home, then the numbers of those infected by Covid19 began to rise. Then I thought of what hope do I have? Is my hope in my job? Is my hope in the government to protect me and curb the spread of COVID-19? Is my confidence in the scientist working in the laboratories to develop a cure or vaccine against Coronavirus?
In my devotions, I read through Romans 5:1-5, a portion of scripture that I read and memorised years back when a toddler in primary school. The good thing of memorising scripture is that God will always bring it out from you by the power of the Holy Spirit in time when you need it the most. Here I would like to encourage you to read, study, memorise and meditate upon the word of God for it is the light to our darkened path, especially now that the world is brought down to its knees by a virus. Sure as the psalmist puts it, Your word I have hidden in my heart so that I may not sin against you (Psalm 119:11). In doing so, you will find that God’s words are sweeter than the droppings of a honeycomb; it refreshes the soul; it awakens the dead (Psalms 19:10;7). Christ says that man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the lord (Matthew 4:4).
Hope is one of those words that we have watered down in our modern culture. When someone says, I hope to have lunch at 1 pm. He connotes that there is a possibility of having or not having lunch at 1 pm. But the Bible use of the word hope is with it to bring an assurance of things that is yet to come; there is no possibility of it not to happen. In other words, hope is a confident expectation (Romans 8:24-45; Hebrews 11:1). Romans 5:1-5, tells us the kind of hope we have, the things we are hoping for and the reason for that hope.
What kind of hope do we have? Romans 5:5 tells us that we have the hope that does not put us to shame. One that cannot disappoint us, one that will never let us to ourselves (Psalms 119:116). The reason that our hope will not disappoint us is because of who it rest in, God himself (Isaiah 40:31). As we read Romans 5:1-5 backwards, we find it is in the glory of God that makes our hope sure (Colossians 1:27; Acts 26:6).
No one has seen the glory of God- the glowing the beauty of God in his complete perfection as he reveals himself to us. The unbeliever is blinded and cannot see even a glimpse of the glory of God ( 2 Corinthians 4:4). The glory of God is the manifest beauty of His holiness; it is the summation of everything that describes God. Perceiving God’s holiness fills you with His glory that like light flashes out of Him and fills everything that it touches (Isaiah 6:3; Psalms 19:1).
We wait with so much eagerness for the return of the Messiah to take us to be with God in his glory, and so we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2). What are we hoping for? The answer, we are hoping to see and be in the glory of God. How do we hope? We do not just hope with gloomy faces, as we hope for the corpse to be put in the ground and be done with it in a funeral. But we hope rejoicing like a bride waiting for her bridegroom to come to their home one week before the ruraciu or koito or nyombo. The excitement that fills our bowels when we waited for mum to cook chapati on a Sunday evening. Such joy should fill your heart as we continue to hope for the glory of God.
The reason for the hope Paul lays for us is that through Jesus Christ, we (Christians) have obtained faith into this grace which we stand (Romans 5:3). What is the grace that we stand in? We may ask this question in another form. What is the position we didn’t deserve that we are now standing in?
To begin with, the position we deserved is eternal damnation for we are all sinners deserving of God’s wrath to be poured upon us (Romans 3:16;17;8:7). As sinners, we hated and were enemies of God, and so our eyes were blinded to see God as glorious, a veil was over our faces darkening our mind (2 Corinthians 3:14). The undeserved position we stand in is peace with God that we have at the expense of Christ, for he has lifted up that darkening veil from our faces and so the glory of God shines in our minds that was initially darkened through his gospel (2 Corinthians 3:18). Jesus Christ not only opened our eyes but also gave us the right standing with God (Romans 5:1).
Why do we need hope such an assured hope? We have hope so that in time of pain, we rejoice. We know that suffering produces endurance and endurance character (Romans 5:3-4). In this hard time of COVID19 pandemic, we are indeed suffering, and maybe the suffering might get more intense. The more intense the affliction, the better our character will be. This character will produce hope, and such a hope will not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
It is like training for a particular sport. If you are in good books with the best coach in the best team, the coach will subject you to rigorous training and the more challenging the training, the better you become. You develop more muscle and skills to endure even more significant challenges to the point that your skills become part of who you are. That kind of training is what suffering comes with. A skilled athlete won’t fear but has hope whenever he goes through any challenge.
Let us have confidence and hope during this weighty season. Remember, it is not just you, but everyone around the world that is suffering. So we have hope that does not put us to shame because our hope is in the God of hope (Romans 15:13). So we should be full of joy not only as we hope, but more so as we suffer since in suffering, we will endure, and our endurance will produce character and out of character, hope that will not disappoint (Romans 5:3-5). This is the hope that we can hold on to—the confidence of the glory of God (Colossians 1:27).