There are definitely times that my bright, shining hope begins to fade. The new wears off and I get used to it. I become stressed by day to day life and I misplace it. I don’t lose it just yet. I just put it in the wrong things. I hope work gets better. I hope life gets easier. I hope other people stop annoying me. I hope the car runs good. I put my hope in so many different things and things slowly and surely begin to disappoint me and my hope begins to run dry.
Life is hard at times. I’ll never understand all of the reasoning why God allows it to be so hard. But my hope has to stay in him. I cannot live a life without hope. I cannot live a life with hope that is fickle and wavering. I have to place my hope in God and have faith that he is going to get me through all those things that I hope will work out.
This brings me to the second thing I have learned, I should probably say that I am learning, if I refuse to lose my hope in God the hard times and the easy times will work together to do far more good than I can imagine. God’s promises to me will be kept and his promises to everyone else could be kept through me. God isn’t just yanking me around to watch me struggle and mess up. His eye on me isn’t God sitting down to watch a little reality TV and have a good laugh at my expense. He isn’t just tuning in to watch a soap opera and marvel at my stupidity. He truly cares for me and he will keep every single promise he has ever made to me. He takes his relationship with me much more seriously than I do. God is working something miraculous in my life right now. I just can’t always see it.
Romans 4:20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
Hope and faith are used almost interchangeably in these scriptures. According to all logic, God’s promise to Abraham had missed it window of opportunity. God’s promise had struck out. But God wanted this child’s birth to be something special, something that people would notice. An old and barren woman suddenly becoming pregnant and successfully making it through pregnancy to deliver a healthy baby boy certainly was noticed. Old Abe became a proud daddy. God’s promise became fact.
Romans 4:23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
This hope of Abraham’s, this unwavering faith that grew when logic and reason should cause it to wither, made him the father of many nations. This same hope reaches down through thousands of years to touch me today. The same God that kept his promise to Abraham is keeping his promise to me. When my life gets hard, I need to stop placing my hope in people to make it better. I need to stop hoping the weather gets better. I need to stop hoping that anything made by man will make life easier. I need to squarely place my hope and faith in God’s Word. I need to put my full weight on it. I must test it and let it prove itself.
I can’t do this by visiting it once a week on Sunday and trusting in it for an hour or so while the pastor speaks. Abraham didn’t get unwavering faith by believing in God’s promise an hour a day. I’m not going to have faith that grows stronger and bring glory to God by placing my faith in God part-time. Faith that shatters conventional thinking is found by believing God’s Word in all things, all situations and circumstances and all my thoughts.
Romans 5:2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 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.
Rejoicing in problems and trials sound pretty silly for most people. I have to admit, I am not to the point spiritually that I can actually rejoice in the face of tough times. Paul tells us in this scripture that we can. Most folks I know don’t. But in my recent history there have been times of great sorrow and God has blessed me with the ability to rejoice for moments or sometimes even longer in the middle of it all. I need to allow myself to stand on God’s promises with both feet in these times and not feel stupid for praising the one that has proven he will bring me through these things. What God says he will do, he will do. That is my hope and it will not waver. Hope placed anywhere else will disappoint and disillusion but God is my constant foundation and he will not fail.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.