Without hope, there can be no faith. Often, we struggle with ‘faith’ issues – or should I say ‘trust’ issues. We are unable to trust people again, unable to dream of a happy future, unable to see ourselves happy again. The problem is not that you lost faith, but that you lost hope.
Faith cannot operate without hope. You need to put faith in something, right? For example, someone promises to marry you within one year. Now you have a picture of hope. You look forward to that day, to that promise to come to pass. Now you have something you can put your faith in. “Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for” (Heb 11:1). Faith needs something to build on – that is hope. Often, when people say, ‘I lost faith’ – they mean, ‘I lost hope.’
When I lost ‘trust’ in relationships, I put my boyfriend (my husband), through many ‘tests’ to see if he was trust-worthy. Mark could see what I was doing. He stopped me in my tracks, when he said, “If you don’t trust me, I cannot be with you.”
That’s when I stopped playing cheap games. Ran to the Holy Spirit, my wonderful counselor. He literally guided me into this truth: my real problem was not about trusting others, I was not able to trust myself – in my ability to love again, in my ability to sustain that love, in my ability to hold a relationship together. Rejection does that to you. It changes the way you think about yourself.
But acceptance does just the opposite. It makes you look at yourself through God’s eyes. He does not accept you because of what you have done or how well you have performed, but because of what Jesus has done for you. “By His grace, he has made me accepted in the Beloved,” and the Beloved is Christ. (Eph 1:6)
For once, I felt totally acceptable, and the burden was not on me! So now the focus shifted from me, my failings, my screw-ups, my insecurities – to what God has in store for me – from looking INward to looking FORWARD.
Now I started to dream again. That’s what hope does – activates the dreaming app in your heart. “Don’t dream, just compromise. It’s too late” – that’s what they say to singles. “Oh she was too demanding, and now she’s past that marriage-able age. She better marry the next available guy.” Eeek! What a horrible language of hopelessness. Hopelessness is the mother tongue of the devil. Our God is the source of hope (Rom 15:13). When you hope in him, this is how you sound:
“Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favour.” (Ruth 2:2) Ruth, a widow, a foreigner, was hopeful that she will find favor in a land where people would vehemently hate her, because she was a Moabitess – Israelites detest these folk!
David says it this way, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalms 27:3, NKJV)
Your hope is not in your ability, or your performance to gain love, or someone else’s efforts to gain your trust. Your hope is in His goodness. Now, you can look forward to the seeing the goodness of God, manifest in your life! You finally have something stable to put your faith in!
Hope, by definition means, to anticipate with pleasure, expectation or confidence. So, beloved, look forward to having a happy future, a happy marriage, a prosperous career, remembering that He gives, not according to our abilities or works, but according to His goodness. Faith is being sure we will have what we hope for!
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Pray: Father, I hope in your goodness. I had my share of hurtful relationships, but now I don’t trust in my own abilities, but completely trust in your goodness. You are the source of my hope! I know that I will see your favor in my life, and I look forward to it, with pleasure. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
(This is taken from a message ‘Hope: The Anchor for the Soul’ I had preached at Transit218, our Christian Single Adults Ministry. If you’re in town, please join us for Thanksgiving Special this Sunday, Nov. 16. )
Event Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/561946947239627/