Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT)
So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
No one knows better the strength and importance of an anchor than a ship that has weathered a storm. The weight and validity of the huge hunk of metal buried beneath the sea determines if the vessel will safely make it through the storm holding its position or if it will crash into the shoreline surrounding the sea. Life is full of storms just as the ocean is filled with ships, boats and other floating vessels. When the clouds grow dark and the current begins cresting in the wind is probably not the best time to inspect the anchor. Hope is our spiritual anchor to keep our faith intact during the storms of life. Faith is the confidence we have in the truthfulness of God and His Faithfulness. Trust is revealed in the wind and rain of life’s tragedies and disappointments. It is the moment that we decide if our faith in God is genuine or just for Sundays. How do you respond when all hell breaks loose in your life? No one knows for sure until their heart is broken the true contents that lies within. We hold on to that which is precious in times of disappointment, disaster and devastation. God has given us many promises. God’s Word is unchangeable. Nothing you or I can or will ever do will change the way that He loves us and cares for us. Those who decide that His Love is true, real and worth having by faith will position themselves in the Presence of God and His Righteousness simply by pursing a relationship with the Father. It is a place of protection and refuge even though there will still be trials in this life.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Hope is our total trust in the Love and Faithfulness of God and faith is how we demonstrate it. Hope does not change because we choose to go our separate ways. It is always solid and secure because hope has a name. It is Jesus. (Matthew 12:21) Jesus is the only Hope we have of living in Eternity forever and experience God’s Glory in our life. Faith is the part that we invest in the process. Rejoicing in our problems and trials is not a natural response. Let’s be real. The car breaks down and you are most certainly not dancing in the street proclaiming the Glory of God singing, “Look what the Lord has done.” Of course not, you are just clutching the steering wheel with the intensity that you are pursing your lips not to let an inappropriate word out in front of the kids. We do not rejoice in the trauma or tragedy but in the hope that we have. Hope never leads to disappointment…do you believe that? Do you know how dearly the Lord loves you? This is the point of our trials and tribulations in life…to attach our faith to hope alone. It is to separate us from this world and firmly place us in the Presence of God where hope is fulfilled.
2 Kings 4:15-17 (NLT)
“Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!”
“No, my lord!” she cried. “O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.” But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. And at that time the following year she had a son, just as Elisha had said.
I love the story of the woman from Shunem. It renews my hope every time I read it. It is not a long story by biblical standards just a few verses in a couple chapters but it makes new hope rise up within me. To summarize it, there was a wealthy woman who made a place in her house for Elisha the prophet. Overwhelmed with gratitude the man of God wanted to show his appreciation. He offered to “put in a good word” for her and her husband but she declined. They were quite content with their life. Elisha called her back again and told her that she would have a child. The woman told him, “Do not deceive me and get my hopes up like that.”
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very real anxiety disorder. It is marked by symptoms such as sleeplessness, relieving the event, avoidance (detachment in life) and high arousal which simply put means living on high alert. It causes negativity, mood changes, and affects emotions or feelings. It is caused by the stress of an injury or severe emotional shock. I do not downplay the validity of this disorder but propose that many people suffer from it without even knowing it. It may not be as severe as those who have experienced a tragedy or catastrophic event but nevertheless robs them of life. I believe that I am one of those people. I believe the woman of Shunem was as well. Life is hard. Disappointment is real. Devastation looms around every corner it seems. You may find that some of the symptoms of PTSD are evident in your life. You may not even realize that you are affected. I know that our son’s cancer diagnosis changed me forever. Whether it will be the birthplace of greater faith and confidence in the Love of God called hope or not is up to me. The woman did not want to believe what the prophet was saying in case he was wrong. This pointed out a breach in trust. Nevertheless, she became pregnant and had a son. People who have experienced disappointment that devastates their natural life and breaks their heart sometimes are faith challenged when it comes to accepting the hope that we have in the Lord.
2 Kings 4:25-28 (NLT)
As she approached the man of God at Mount Carmel, Elisha saw her in the distance. He said to Gehazi, “Look, the woman from Shunem is coming. Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Is everything all right with you, your husband, and your child?’” “Yes,” the woman told Gehazi, “everything is fine.” But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the Lord has not told me what it is.” Then she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?”
The boy was working in the fields with his father when he was overcome by a terrible headache and carried back to the house. He became very ill. His mother whet straight to the man of God. Even when his assistant, Gehazi, tried to intervene she would not be deterred. She went straight to Elisha. She did not tell him of her son’s illness but instead said, “Did I ask you for a son, my Lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up?’” To the woman it was worse to be given a child only to have him ripped from her arms. She didn’t ask for this. She didn’t want this. She even recalled her request “not to get her hopes up”. Insert deep breath here. I can feel her tears on my cheeks. I can feel her heart pounding in her chest. I can hear the thoughts circling in her head. She had a comfortable life. She was content. Her family had more than they needed. She was a good person clearly evident in her care for God’s man. Why this? Why? God always puts more than we can think to ask for in the inheritance called hope. There is more involved than we can comprehend. If we can only endure the process of increasing our faith, we will discover the true potential of our hope. Such a violation in our life forces us into the Presence of God, for this woman that face was Elisha not Gehazi. Maybe we need to stop telling everyone else our problems, and stay focused on releasing them to the only one who can do anything about our situation and cause blessing to spill forth. Long story short, while the woman went to Elisha her son died. Elisha went back to her home and by the Power of God the boy came back to life. Elisha warned the family to prepare to go because famine was coming to the land and so they did moving to another city.
2 Kings 8:1-6 (NLT)
Elisha had told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “Take your family and move to some other place, for the Lord has called for a famine on Israel that will last for seven years.” So the woman did as the man of God instructed. She took her family and settled in the land of the Philistines for seven years. After the famine ended she returned from the land of the Philistines, and she went to see the king about getting back her house and land. As she came in, the king was talking with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God. The king had just said, “Tell me some stories about the great things Elisha has done.” And Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land. “Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!” “Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him the story. So he directed one of his officials to see that everything she had lost was restored to her, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence.
Fast forward seven years and a few chapters, we meet the woman and her son again. The family is returning to their home and land after the famine. Gehazi had been telling the king of Elisha and all the miracles that had happened when low and behold the woman and her miracle walk through the door. The woman was seeking restoration of her property and fields. Her life and all she had lost was totally restored. Our son has been healed of cancer five times in three years. These years have taken their toll on me and sometimes I find like this woman, I wonder why the Lord stirs in me getting my hopes up. He is my only hope. This road has been a hard one. There are days that I know that I am still not able to let go of the ordeal of it all even though I can testify of all that Lord has done and is doing in our son’s life. God is challenging my faith so that I will know the strength and faithfulness of my hope. It is secure. His Love for me is overwhelming and never changing despite the lie of the enemy. Do you believe that today in the midst of your storm? Are you war torn and battle weary just praying for enough faith to survive? I understand, I really do. But hope never leads to disappointment. It took some time. They endured many hardships but this woman had her promise and her life was fully restored.
Psalm 94:18-19 (NLT)
I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
Letting go of doubt and fear feels like slipping sometimes as we allow God to mold and shape our life to make a place for all that He has planned and purposed in our life. Hope doesn’t change because we doubt God or fear His Willingness to do what we ask. Faith is the only thing affected. God is faithful. His Love for us true and unending. Sometimes we need to renew our hope so that our faith will follow. His Word is a good place to start. Remind the Lord what He promised you. (Psalm 119:49-50) Back it up with His Word. God’s Word gives us something to hold on to because it is as unchangeable as God Himself. (Proverbs 24:13-14) Hope is unwavering and our faith must remain consistent with what we hope for. (Hebrews 10:23) Faith without hope is useless. What good is it? Faith attaches us to the precious hope that is our Lord. Hope depends completely on God’s Faithfulness. He supplies new mercy each day for our inability to believe in Him completely. (Lamentations 3:23-25) Take hold of that today. The Lord doesn’t expect His Kids to be the fastest, strongest or greatest warriors of them all just to trust Him in each battle. He is our hope. Your faith is in process, but you hope is secure.
Romans 4:17-18 (NLT)
That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”
Even when there was no reason for hope…maybe you are in a seemingly hopeless situation. You have tried to walk with the Lord, do all the “right” things and yet you still live sleepless nights, worry all the time and live on high alert. Time to check the anchor. There is always a reason to hope…His Name is Jesus. As long as Jesus is alive and well, He lives inside of me. The enemy doesn’t want me to wait to discover the kind of hope available when we believe. So I challenge you (as I do myself) to decide that you are going to hope even when there is no apparent reason to. This will be a true challenge in the midst of the storm but you will make it if you fortify the anchor of our soul. Your hope is secure. We just need to attach it to our life by faith! Check you anchor today!
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.