Eagerly waiting with perseverance

Romans 8:24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.


In my study for this Sunday’s message, I was in Romans eight. All at once a phrase jumped out at me that I have not thought of in this way. The phrase is “eagerly wait for it with perseverance”. The context of verses 24 and 25 is all about hope.  Hope is so very important in every area of life. It is trite to say without hope there is no hope, but that’s pretty much the truth. I often tell my doctors, when dealing with pain, that as long as I have hope that a new medicine or a new lifestyle change will help, I can keep going. When I have to think of this pain never going away and never getting any better, I am in danger losing hope. That is not a good place to be.


According to Paul, we are saved in hope. It takes faith to believe that an act of sacrifice over 2000 years ago was enough to guarantee heaven forever, but believing in the Bible as God’s holy word gives the hope to face eternity unafraid because of the sacrifice Christ made those 2000 years ago. That’s the way I described hope and faith working together. It takes faith to believe, and it takes hope to live that belief.


We know that the biblical definition of hope is slightly different than an English translation. Hope so (!?!) is a good way to describe the average person’s idea of hope. Know so (!), and living like I know so, is the Bible’s idea of hope.   In the original Greek, the word iselpis: defined as a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is confident expectancy (preceiptaustin).  A clear usage of the word is found in Hebrews 3:6 “but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”  Hold fast, confidence, rejoicing, and firm to the end: a litany of great words to describe the wonder of hope.


The proposition that Paul makes about hope is that if we are seeing something that is already there, there is no need for hope. However, if we see into the future something we believe is going to be there, act on it, and live like it has already happened, that is hope. We do not pray to receive something we already have. That would be a waste of words and take no faith or hope at all. However, to have faith in what we cannot prove with our senses or interact with physically but to live like we can see and feel it now, that seems to me to be “eagerly waiting with perseverance”.


For example, take the idea of your checking account. A friend writes you a check for some money he owes you.  You take it to the bank. You want them to cash the check but since it is not from your bank and you do not have enough in your account to cover the check, the bank won’t clear it for a day or two. You also owe a bill that you need to write a check for from that amount of deposit. You are absolutely sure that your friend would have written the check from money he had in his bank. Based on past experience and your trust in your friend, you go ahead and write a check to pay the bill. Technically, that is the wrong thing to do. You should only write checks on amounts already in the bank. However, you have hope that the check will not bounce because you trust your friend. You have acted on your faith in your friend.  You have exercised hope.


Can you think of other ways you use faith and hope in daily life? Also, try to remember some of the promises from the Bible that have not yet come true, but your life demonstrates the hope you have that God will keep those promises. Can you say that you are eagerly waiting for them with perseverance?