A devotion on hope, Romans 5:1-5

Placing our hope in God, just as Jesus did when he allowed himself to be arrested and hung on a cross, is putting our faith to work when doubting or giving up would have been much easier. In the case of Jesus willingly going to his cross, it certainly would have been more comfortable to forgo faith in the promise of God and choose to go another direction. John Calvin said, “The word I take for hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith.” Hope is having faith, continuing in faith, when it doesn’t seem to make sense to have faith in God at all. After the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were hopeless after Jesus died because it made no sense whatsoever to trust God to bring about any good from such a tragic situation. Since Jesus was dead and buried along with their dashed hopes of the future they once thought Jesus would bring had he been alive, it made no sense to continue in faith, so they believed. As a result, the disciples had no peace. Their confidence was gone. Hope had certainly left them.

Pierre Auguste Renoir is a famous French artist who lived in the late 19th century to the early 20th century. He was known for his paintings, mostly those depicting family life. But there was a disease that tormented the gifted artist. He had arthritis that plagued him and tormented his fingers. Every time he painted, each stroke of the brush meant grimacing pain due to his arthritis. It took him quite some time to finish a painting compared to earlier years. One of his friends pitifully consoled him to stop his painting and shift his passion for art to focus on himself. The friend knew it was a struggle against pain whenever he held a brush and tried to paint. But Renoir, with great display of passion, answered his friend by saying, “The pain passes away, but the beauty remains.”

We have seen that in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus: the pain passes and the beauty remains- thanks be to God! Life does hurt. But when we trust God the Father who can bring new life out of lifeless tombs, the pain can pass and beauty remain. It was our resurrected Lord who guarantees the Biblical truth, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old life is gone, the new has begun.” With Easter fast approaching, let us all put our eggs in one basket, in Jesus, trusting that Jesus does indeed have the power to save. He knows the pain. But he also knows the love of God the Father will rise to meet us, and beauty will continue to remain.