Aluminum is one of the most abundant natural elements we have, accounting for nearly 10% of Earth's weight. Yet, at one time, it was seemingly impossible to extract, thus making it exceptionally valuable. In the early 1800s this precious material was used to cap the Washington monument, and even Napolean famously served the King of Siam on aluminum, forcing all the lower ranks to eat off the gold plates. *
Then, a simple technique using electricity unlocked the true ABUNDANCE of aluminum, making it one of the most ubiquitous elements in our lives to this day.
Perhaps, it's not that the things we most long for are scarce, but rather, they just aren't easily accessible, or maybe, we just think they are...
Sometimes HOPE feels as valuable as aluminum once was because it seems so hard to come by, but similarly, HOPE is infused in every inch of creation and it is ours to have, if we only know how to unlock its abundance.
Romans 5:1-5 says,
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
To gain HOPE, we must first realize, through FAITH, that the work has already been done--we are at PEACE, we are right with God because of the work of Christ, done for us. We must release ourselves, our efforts, our hopes even, and with hands open wide, receive GRACE. In that grace, we don't cower or timidly sit, but we STAND in relationship with God. As time goes by, as we experience more of this PEACE with and ACCESS to God, our desire to meet Him face to face grows...and our conviction, our focus, our HOPE of the Glory of God overflows.
Then, when we face suffering, we can do so knowing that it will not only bolster our hope but unlock even more of it, so in the most unexpected way, we don't just accept suffering but we even invite it in because we know what it will produce...HOPE.
As we suffer, we learn to depend, again, not on our own work, but on the work of Christ, and thus, we persevere, our focus shifts from ourselves to the reality of hope beyond. Like Stephen, we can almost see beyond the veil, where HOPE anchors us, to where God awaits, and then the storms all around us fade a bit. Over time, this process repeats, and amazingly, we are not broken down but we are refined, and the hope that was once so scarce is now shown to be all around us, if we only open our hands to receive it, to receive Him. And He will give Himself to us in ABUNDANCE.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (ROMANS 15:13)
(* story of aluminum from, "Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think" by Peter Diamandis)