Psalm 33:20-22 (NLT)
We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.
What is hope? I get very frustrated with myself when I am sure of the direction that the Lord is sending me but a few steps in uncertainty begins to tug at me. I want to live in the hope that I have been given by the Lord but life is really hard sometimes. Too many questions and not enough answers in my opinion. I am not a face value kind of girl. I want to know all that there is to know about something. This is not well received by everybody. I am not questioning what you do or how you do it, I am simply trying to fully understand. I understand their frustration as it appears my youngest is her mother’s child. How do I hope in someone or something that I cannot see? Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen giving us assurance in things that cannot be seen. (Hebrews 11:1) So let me get this straight… I am supposed to put my confidence in the unseen reality of God and live according to this hope. This can prove quite challenging.
One definition of hope is to desire, believe and trust. When I read this definition, I felt that this is exactly the process by which hope is discovered. We need or want something that becomes our desire. We begin to believe that it just might be possible. Finally, we begin to put our trust in the development process as it comes to fruition. In theory, this is how our faith in God should become hope, too. We desire the Will of God. We believe in the Word of God. We trust in the Way of God. This is hope… if only it were that easy.
I recently resigned from my current position at work to take a new position that I am very excited about. Every single step to finding this new opportunity is designed by God. I true testimony in and of itself. It took about a week for my current employer to accept my leaving and I am not sure that they really have. Now as I finish my last few weeks, I began feeling a bit of uncertainty. I know that this new thing is a God thing. There is no doubt. I have been very excited about what is coming and felt the Peace of God like never before. I know that I know this is the next step. Faith would be much easier if it was fast. Hope would be a sure bet if we could see Him. But instead, we face people and their opinions. We encounter opposition and adversity. There is struggle, hardship and pain in the process sometimes that can cause us to experience fear and doubt that begin to chip away at our faith and destroy our hope. Now as others try to dissuade me, I must put my hope (all of it) in the Lord. He is my help. He is my shield. My heart can always rejoice just because I trust His Name. In doing so, I invite His Love to surround me because I hope only in Him.
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.
If only faith and hope were as easy as they sound rolling off the tongue in Christianese as if so simple. We struggle to have faith in the things we do see and trust people we know. Faith is difficult given our suspicious nature and distrustful mind. I want to trust the Lord. I want to live by faith. I want to have confident hope. But the whole process is exhausting, it just doesn’t come that easy in the battle against myself. Do you rejoice in every problem and trial? We should. Do you submit to the marathon of endurance? Heck, I don’t even like to walk to the mailbox to get the mail. Strength of character is important not just acting the part of Christian but living as a Child of God in every situation, no matter what you are facing, it is the part when we take the lemons and make lemonade. You still have to work at it. You have to squeeze the lemons, remove the seeds, mix in some sugar and water, and then pour it over ice. The lemon doesn’t do that to itself. We must participate in the process as well. The Lord is reminding me that my uncertainty comes from inside of me and is not anything that He put in me. I must take His Spirit and work things out.
Hope never leads to disappointment. My desire may not be what I originally thought that it might be but that’s on me for not full examining my motive and intent from the start. I may not fully believe that it will happen delaying my process. Bu tin the end if I trust and continue to hope, that desire will come to pass in the natural, as well as supernatural processes in life. We must be committed to that thing we desire and believe that it is possible or we will never have enough faith (trust) to see it through. Like the lemon I spoke of before, we must see the potential to go through the process. What do you hope will happen in your life? Have you looked in the Word of God to see if it has the potential to bring you love, joy or peace?
Romans 15:13 (NLT)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I know that the Lord has closed a door and opened another in my life. When I waver in the process by which I close this chapter to begin a new one, I must rely on the Source of my Hope. God cares about every single detail of our life. He recorded each one before you and I were born. (Psalm 139:16) Good and bad… He has a plan for our life with a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11) but He also knew that we had a sin problem. The recorded moments included the grace and mercy necessary to get us over that so by faith we could have that which we hope for. We just have to believe that God is our Source for Hope to be filled with the joy and peace of those who trust Him. We must believe in His Unfailing Love. Who else captures each tear saving them? (Psalm 56:8) I want to overflow in confident hope every day. I get so frustrated when knowing how good and faithful the Lord has been to me that I still struggle to maintain constant faith and confident hope. I am all too human and sometimes it stresses me out.
Ephesians 1:16-20 (NLT)
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
Faith and hope will never seem to make sense in the natural. They are supernatural activities. Once you can see something, you do not have to have hope anymore. There are many promises in my life that have not come to fruition. It is taking some time. I must decide if I will believe and trust the Lord or simply move on. When I am preparing a new recipe, I want (or desire) it to turn out like the picture and meet my expectation. I follow all the directions and believe it will turn out well. Trust is when I collect the ingredients, follow the instructions and put it on the table. We have this wonderful knowledge of God found in His Word. We are given careful instructions on how to access His Kingdom and live in His Presence yet we still sit in our mess without enough faith to leave our comfort zone. Faith is not blind you just cannot see it with your eyes. Hope is not a dream it is a reality for those who choose to base their expectation on Jesus Christ and nothing else. Again – this is no easy task. Jesus didn’t say that it would be easy just worth it.
We must increase our knowledge of the Word and Way of God to overcome the voices we hear in the world. Our heart and mind will line up in agreement as we begin to accept this knowledge as the Truth and apply it to our life. This is not a “dos and don’ts get saved quick mentality” of doing all the right things and pretending to be perfect. No, this is called fully accepting the Love of God and living completely in His Grace. It is the act of daily taking hold of His New Mercy and applying it to our life. Falling in love with Jesus changes us from the inside out impacting our natural life as well. The process of hope is to develop a love affair with Jesus. Nothing more and nothing less. Accepting that His Love for us is so complete and comprehensive that it is worth risking everything for. After all, He gave His All for us. You will never desire Jesus until you love Him. You will not believe in Him until you encounter Him and experience His Love. You will not trust Him until the Light of His Love produces confident hope not based on what we can do with what’s left of our life but committing all the broken and imperfect pieces to Jesus one by one. He gives us the peace to continue when all hell is breaking loose. He gives us the joy to laugh through tears and smile through the pain. His Grace is truly sufficient for me. He is always good. These are thoughts that remind me why I desire Him, believe in Him and trust the Lord. How about you?
Psalm 62:5-6 (NLT)
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.