Rocky Road

Rocky Road

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

 

We have been vacationing and visiting our daughter and son-in-law in New Hampshire. What an adventure! Although in the same country, it seems foreign in many ways. Everything is different here from Florida. One invaluable resource on this journey has been the GPS programmed in our cellphones. The kids have only been here for six months so there have been many occasions when the GPS kept us on track. With that being said, we have rerouted more than a couple of times. New scenery and new adventures while sightseeing and even the church in which they serve has proven quite different from the ones at home. Culture is driven by exposure and in the New England area, the culture is different from the South.

When I began planning this journey it was with more than one purpose. Obviously any time I can spend with our daughter and her husband is treasured now that we live 21 hours a part. But also to find some sense of peace in the miles that separate us. They came seeking after God and feeling called to minister to those who do not know Him here. I believe that they love God and hear from Him yet as a mother every time I think about the distance my heart quivers and tears rise up behind my eyes. I do not question the Will or Way of God just ask Him to quiet my heart and cease these endless tears. My hope in this journey has been to find the peace I need to do just that. It is a hard path. It is a rocky road.

Hope comes with some basic requirements. The first being Jesus Christ. (Matthew 12:21) His Name is the Hope of the world. Faith in Jesus Christ is the very component that makes hope possible in our life. He is our only Hope for life. (Ephesians 4:4). The world with its opinions and cultures does not promote faith in God or confident hope for the future so it cannot offer what we need when it comes to a relationship with God. Jesus is the connection that must be permanently established. Hope will never lead to disappointment but it can and will produce problems and trials in life that must be overcome by faith to produce more confidence in our hope. Endurance is persistent waiting in the midst of hardship that produces strength in godly character. When presented with options for immediate satisfaction, means of escape or a complete compromise, endurance decides that what we hope for is better than what we have. (I Peter 1:13) Strength character produces tenacity for what the Lord offers us in the undeserved privilege of salvation. Our hope is the constant conviction and absolute confidence that God loves us no matter what so we seek to know Him more.

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

 

The beginning of our journey is faith in Jesus Christ and His Work on the Cross. When Jesus died for our sins, it placed us immediately and perfectly in a place of undeserved privilege. Will we take advantage of this position by avoiding sin and seeking the Lord? Or take it for granted and return to old ways and old lifestyles? I guess that depends on what you are after in life. Because of our faith, we can move mountains and transverse the peaks and valleys of life victoriously confident that God is our refuge and strength. Without confidence in our salvation and God’s Unconditional Love, it is hard to see our efforts in godliness and living in holiness as worthwhile.

Psalm 25:4-6 (NLT)

Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past.

 

I hear the random singing of the Snow White’s seven dwarves singing, “High ho, high ho, it’s off to work we go…” Silly how my brain works. Each day we make a choice whether or not we will live in the blessing and undeserved privilege of faith called confident hope. It is a road that is traveled. Like a road, many times we need direction since it is the road less traveled. We need to know which way to go, when to turn, and when we have veered off course. God’s Word is the roadmap to successful and confident hope kind of like our GPS. To have faith requires the Word of God because faith comes by hearing the Word of God and believing. Hope is for those who choose to endure the ups and downs of this new road. This rocky road that requires strength of character. The overwhelming belief of God’s Love and Compassion for me make me know that He is committed to my successful arrival into His Glory so I decide to put my very life in His Hands and not random fate.

Psalm 65:3-8 (NLT)

Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple. You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.

 

Salvation is the beginning that puts our feet where they need to be to finish the course called hope. Hope is a chosen pathway. We are given freedom from our sins and the opportunity to live however we choose. God does not force us to have confident hope but offers us the opportunity. Salvation is the beginning of faith but without hope it is pointless. Why commit our lives to faith that takes us nowhere and produces nothing? I would not have planned, prepared and paid for a visit to New England if my children had not been here. I had no interest and there was no point. Salvation, God’s Grace and faith that does not produce anything is really not worth the effort. If our lives are not changed for the better, what is the worth of hope? It should takes us somewhere.

Psalm 37:34 (NLT)

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.

 

Hope in the Lord is moving. It travels from glory to glory and victory to victory. To stay in the stagnancy of sin or complacency will not produce the hope that we have found in Him. It will not lead us out of our hopeless situation into the Light of His Love. He has a plan with a future and hope that is good for us. We must pack up our life by faith and put our hope completely in Jesus to have it.

Psalm119:40-44 (NLT)

Lord, give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me. Then I can answer those who taunt me, for I trust in your word. Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope. I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever.

 

Hope is the anchor of our soul. (Hebrews 6:18-19) We need it to keep hanging on to His Promises when the enemy tries to wrestle them away with doubt and fear. (Hebrews 10:23) God’s Word paves the way of hope like gravel laid over a dirt road leading us in the right direction. His Word is the refuge and shield we need against the enemy’s attacks. It is the source of hope telling us what awaits us at the end of our journey. (Psalm 119:114) God has given us glorious hope that is worth seeking after, holding on to and working our way towards. It is worth every ounce of effort, sacrifice, and drop of sweat or shed tear. Christ has all authority and power over this world but will not take over our life unless invited and sought after. (Ephesians 1:18-23) We are made full and complete by faith and confident hope. Thought not an easy journey, it is totally worth it. We have been fully equipped to make the trip…will we do it?

Romans 8:23-25 (NLT)

And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

 

Jesus Christ came as the Word wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Love for us all. Salvation is the beginning of a wonderful journey to discover just how high, deep, wide and long God’s Love for us really is. Those who commit their life to make the trip will never be disappointed. We must decide it is the life we want and seek after Him every single day. There will be days of groaning in the process as problems and trials produce genuine faith that will solidify our confidence in the hope we have in Jesus. It is worth every painful release. The Holy Spirit is our helper. I don’t encourage traveling without Him. He is our GPS inside us. On those days that seems like we are going nowhere, kind of like Boston traffic at rush hour (which is no joke), we wait confidently and completely in the Lord knowing that He will never disappoint and we are definitely somewhere.

Psalm 62:5-8 (NLT)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.

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