As I’ve been watching some of the recent coverage of the Summer Olympics and have noticed a number of athletes break down in tears — either of joy or disappointment — it seems that they all had one important thing in common: Through all of their years of commitment, discipline, self-sacrifice and financial cost, they maintained an expectant hope.
What is hope? For many people it is often just wishful thinking, like waiting for Santa to give them everything on their list.
What we all actually need in this pivotal time in history is to make sure that we are regularly renewing our hearts and minds with Bible-infused hope. Knowing that God will do as He says, even though we may not see it yet. Hope is the anchor to the heart of the Father! Two unchangeable things we are assured of: His promise and His oath! Hebrews 6:18-19 in the Amplified Bible urges us “to grasp and hold fast to the hope appointed for us and set before us. Now we have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down].”
Faith releases that hope — the hope to believe that God will do what He says He will do. Hallelujah!
Noah, Moses and Abraham were all filled with expectant hope based on God’s faithfulness. God was, is and will ALWAYS be present in our lives as we walk in obedience to our hope in God! And the Psalmist gives us this exhortation:
“Wait and hope for and expect the Lord;
Be brave and of good courage,
and let your heart be stout and enduring;
Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord!”
(Psalm 27:14 Amplified)
Faith is the substance of our hope realized through His sustaining grace in our lives. According to Hebrews 11, faith can also be described as:
A confident assurance and a sense of confirmation (:1)
A perception of reality that has not yet been revealed but nevertheless exists (:1)
A prompting and an activation of belief — as Abel was prompted by faith (:4)
An implicit trust in God’s goodness — such as when Enoch did not experience death (:5)
A step of obedience in response to the urging of the Spirit — just as with Abraham (:8)
A recognition of God’s faithfulness — demonstrated by Sarah when she was able to conceive (:11)
A response to God’s truth — just as when Moses refused earthly honor and welcomed disgrace (:26)
In short, faith is simple trust and confidence in our heart toward God. Our heart is the seat of the emotions and desires which motivate our hope.
Lamentations chapter 3 reminds us of a number of key truths that can guide and strengthen our faith:
1. The Lord’s mercy, lovingkindness, and compassion never fail (:22)
2. He gives us stability and faithfulness every morning (:23; also Isa. 33:2)
3. We can have an expectant hope as we wait for Him to act (:24; also Num. 18:20)
4. He is good and blesses those who wait expectantly for Him with hope (:25)
5. We can hope and quietly wait (confidently trusting) that what He says He will DO! (:26)
6. Call to remembrance all the ways that He has led you (:20-21; also Num. 18:20)
7. God disciplines us for our benefit as we submit ourselves to Him (:28; also Rom. 8:28)
8. Walk in meekness and humility, accepting God’s correction through His agents (:30)
9. The Lord will not test us forever, but brings us through seasons of both trial and mercy (:32)
10. We should remember to lift our hearts and hands in prayer (:41)
11. He draws near to us when we call to Him (:55-57; also James 4:8)
12. He is always there for us (:57-58; also Deut. 31:8)
When all we hear around us (through people, the media, etc.) is that “chaos” is coming, disaster is upon us, and that life will never be normal again, we need to remember: They are seeking a product — while we are seeking His presence. We are confidently trusting God, that He will help us to do our best, and He WILL do the rest!
So remember the incredibly encouraging words of Jesus, “Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom! (Luke 12:32). “Do not be afraid; only keep on believing [in Me and my power]” (Mark 5:36).
Friends, we do have a future and a hope!