Hope in the Midst of Difficulty

Hope in the Midst of Difficulty

3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Romans 5:3-4 (KJV)

In Preparation...

  • Find a video about the refining process and learn how metal is refined to remove impurities
  • List in your journal things you consider to be “impurities” in your life

Tribulation Strong's 2347-Thlipsis

Greek Strong’s Number: 2347

Greek Word: θλῖψις

Transliteration: thlipsis

Phonetic Pronunciation:

thlip’-sis

Root: from <G2346>

Cross Reference: TDNT – 3:139,334

Part of Speech: n f

Vine’s Words: Afflict, Affliction, Anguish, Distress, Distressed, Tribulation, Trouble

Usage Notes:

English Words used in KJV:

tribulation 21

affliction 17

trouble 3

anguish 1

persecution 1

burdened 1

to be afflicted + <G1519> 1

[Total Count: 45]

 

from <G2346> (thlibo); pressure (literal or figurative) :- afflicted (-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.

James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “2347”.

Hope Strong's 1680-Elpis

Greek Strong’s Number: 1680

Greek Word: ἐλπίς

Transliteration: elpis

Phonetic Pronunciation:

el-pece’

Root: from a primary elpo (to anticipate, usually with pleasure)

Cross Reference: TDNT – 2:517,229

Part of Speech: n f

Vine’s Words: Hope, Hope (for)

Usage Notes:

English Words used in KJV:

hope 53

faith 1

[Total Count: 54]

 

from a primary elpo (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstract or concrete) or confidence :- faith, hope.

James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1680”.

Repent Strong's 3340-Metanoeō

Greek Strong’s Number: 3340

Greek Word: μετανοέω

Transliteration: metanoeō

Phonetic Pronunciation:

met-an-o-eh’-o

Root: from <G3326> and <G3539>

Cross Reference: TDNT – 4:975,636

Part of Speech: v

Vine’s Words: Repent, Repentance

Usage Notes:

English Words used in KJV:

repent 34

[Total Count: 34]

 

from <G3326> (meta) and <G3539> (noieo); to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (moral feel compunction) :- repent.

James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “3340”.

Jesus is hope

I suspect not many of us actually carry hope at the very moment we are going through tough times. My suspicion is that, for some people anyway, the mind focuses on what is required to simply get through or survive the event. Hope creeps in the moment the light at the end of the tunnel is recognized as a light on a path, and not an oncoming train.

3  The firing pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

Proverbs 17:3 (KJV)

The King James is fantastic for making the simple eloquent. Those things we go through we can view as events designed to burn away the dirt, debris, and dross of life. This cleaning of our hearts allows more of Christ’s light to shine through. These events are not designed to be damaging to us, even when they are the result of deserved chastisement brought on by our own actions. They are the corrections of a Father who cares for our lives and wants us to know a better way.

6  FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”

Hebrews 12:6 (NASB)

12  For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.

Proverbs 3:12 (NASB)

19  ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

Revelation 3:19 (NASB)

32  But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

1 Corinthians 11:32 (NASB)

5  ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.

Revelation 2:5 (NASB)

 

That is a chain of scripture that revolves around behavior God doesn’t like. It is something He sees in our lives that He is counseling us to get rid of, to repent of this behavior. The Greek word for repent is metanoeō. This word specifically means that we are to think differently of the behavior, thing, or whatever IT is. This thinking differently is supposed to cause us to turn from that thing and reconsider our position about it, to feel a moral compunction against it. It is not possible to at once think differently about a thing and still participate in that thing. That is not repentance. That is not a changed heart-position. That is putting our lampstand at risk of being removed.

Difficulty is not forever. The only thing that stays the same is that things will change. The hope inside the hardship is that God gets a better workman out on the other side, fit for His tasks, better able to serve His purposes, and cleaner to reflect more of His love to the world around us. If we claim to be Christians, followers of Christ, then we should be about God’s business rather than our own. If that is the goal, then His refining fire as demonstrated by the difficulties in life can give us hope when we decide to recognize them as God’s hands actively working in our lives.

Digging Deeper

  • Dig into Matthew 24 where Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple and compare what He says is to come with various historical periods that might have looked to people going through it then as the “end times”.
  • List some of your own personal tribulations in your journal and contemplate those tribulations in hindsight through the lens of the experience you have gained from them with the historical tribulations used in the previous exercise.

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