The path toward hope is one of suffering, sorrow and pain. No matter how pious, loving or good you are, if Christ is in you, you will become a partaker in His sufferings.
“But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings” (1 Peter 4:13, my italics). Peter tells us plainly, “Rejoice in your suffering.” And Paul says something similar: “Rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
Rejoice in suffering? This is one of those hard sayings of the Scriptures, indeed, one of the very hardest. Yet Paul goes even further: “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations” (Romans 5:3, my italics). Paul isn’t talking here about a shout or exclamation we are to make despite our trial. Rather, what he’s describing is simply being able to see Jesus in our trial. In spite of our very real human fears, in spite of a situation that appears to be utterly hopeless, we can still say, “God will provide a way.”
Some Christians may claim, “The path of hope is simply this: My hope rests in ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’” (Colossians 1:27). Very true. But if Christ is in us, He is going to lead us into the path that Paul describes. You see, the Holy Spirit wants our hope to be more than a theological phrase. It has to be a hope, a confidence that is steadfast, with a sure foundation underneath. In short, our hope is to be “Christ in us, working in us.”