In today's reading from Romans, St Paul says something that at one level seems obvious, yet is so profound. He says we can only hope for what we don't yet have.
"Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience" (Rom 8:24-25).
It's easy to get discouraged in life when we don't have what we hope for. We can start to think we'll never get it.
We need many things in our earthly life, and it is fine to hope for them. But the virtue of hope is really about one thing: eternal life. In another word: heaven.
Our day to day life has so many demands and needs that have to be met. All those are important--but only relatively so. Ultimately, everything that happens to us, everything we do, how we help others, etc., makes sense in light of heaven.
That's how we can get through sufferings and trials. Nobody likes them. But they'll pass. We won't be sick forever. Someday we'll find the job we need. Someday that relationship will be healed. And even if what seems to be the ultimate disaster happens--we die--that's all the more reason for hope. Death is our gateway to eternal life. Like St Paul says in another place, if we hope in Christ only for this life, we are fools.
Hope is the great secret of the Christian. We hope for what we do not yet possess, confident that in due time we will reach that goal.
"I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory to be revealed in us" (Rom 8:18).