A Life of Hope

rhdr

After praying with someone recently, I recognized the devastation that comes from an absence of hope. This person was once so filled with life and motivated to run after God’s purposes, and now they want to quit. I realized this has often happened to me and to many others I have journeyed with.

How easy it is to start off on a journey with confidence and hope for great results. Yet as we go down the road a little bit and encounter obstacles or find people opposing us, we often hear a questioning voice: Am I going down the right path? Am I good enough? This is the battle of faith.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11)

As I write this, I look back at what I was hoping for a year ago. Has my hope been robbed? Did I explain away or justify my lack of hope? What was I believing God for that I have stopped pursuing in actions and prayer?

What I hope for becomes the ground where my faith is tested.

How can I grow if I am not hoping for things beyond where I have been? Faith drives our life and actions towards the things we are hoping for. Our faith can be found in God, ourselves or any number of things. A hope for wealth may drive a man to work hard, work multiple jobs, buy lottery tickets…. A hope for health will send someone to their knees before God, or to a hospital. But if a person is resigned to poverty or being sick, no actions will be taken. They may go to a doctor but will not expect healing from medicine or God and will not ask for prayer.

We have all been created in the image of God with a desire to see this world be restored to the perfection to which we and all creation were made. Not only has that reality been stolen by sin, but the hope for restoration is being stolen as well. The lies of the enemy tell us to abandon hope. They are targeted to remove us from the battle of faith.

Romans 4 tells us that Abraham was counted righteous through faith because he believed with hope in the promise God gave. Abraham hoped in the promise of God despite his inability to make it happen. This is the faith that counted him righteous.

Our souls cry out in hope for things we cannot attain ourselves. The dreams that our spirits produce are not attainable on our own. They require faith. But there is a battle not just for where our faith is placed, but what we are hoping for. Will we listen to the promises of God? Will we invite the Spirit of God within us to initiate desires? Will we test them and hold true to them? When we face disappointment will we maintain hope?

The hope we are talking about is not just optimism; it is not just positive thoughts. Hope in things that are destructive are going to destroy. Our hopes need to be put through the filter of scripture. We need to ask ourselves, if I get what I hope for, will it produce good and godly things in me and others? As desires come to us, I suggest we pray,“God I give you this desire. Would you kill it in this moment if it is not of you, or increase my hope if it is.” God knows what is good for us and what we need. He is a good father who blesses us abundantly.

Anyone who believes in him will never be disappointed. (I Peter 2:6)

I was reminded as I wrote this of a time in my life when I lost hope. I had been praying for years asking God to deliver my father from the pain caused by relationships and alcoholism. I became bitter over time, and eventually was resigned to it being forever a part of his life. For over a year, I had no hope. After that year, hope was restored. It was just a moment where I realized that God still wanted to do something. I became aware of God’s desire for my father. There was nothing new that happened in his life, but my prayer life shifted. I began to ask God to break through again. The thing that changed was my hope in the desires of God.

My father recently passed away without the things I hoped for being restored in this world. He knew Jesus in this life, and is with him today. As I look back, I am so thankful for the renewed hope. God can handle our disappointment. In fact, he takes the pain and gives us joy in exchange. I can honestly say that God gave me joy as I asked him why and gave him my disappointment.

Hope ushers us into the plans of God. Hope enables us to embrace faith and to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. May we find hope in the plans of God, believing in faith for God to show up.

2 thoughts on “A Life of Hope

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