In Hope Against Hope

(Photo via Google Images)

In hope against hope he believed…” Romans 4:18

This verse is talking about Abraham, who despite being about a hundred years old and the barrenness of Sarah’s womb, did not waver in unbelief with respect to the promise of God that he would be a father of many nations. Romans 4:21 further states he was “fully assured that what He [God] had promised, He was able also to perform.” Undoubtly, Abraham was a man of incredible faith.

While we marvel at the faith of Abraham, we must recognize that God has planted within us all a measure of faith. [Romans 12:3] It’s up to us to cultivate our faith in order for it to grow and produce great fruit. Abraham’s faith produced a great nation and it all started with a word from God. A promise. Abraham probably rehearsed this promise over and over and over in his head countless times. All he had to stand on was this word, but there he stood, firmly, without wavering. The word took root and, by faith, came into fruition. In hope against hope.

Faith and Hope

What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 from the NASB translation tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I grew up memorizing this verse from the KJV which says it a little differently: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Either way we look at it, we can see that before we have faith, we must have hope. Faith is rooted in hope!

What does it mean to ‘hope for’ something? This phrase actually comes from the Greek word, elpizo, and means ‘to expect‘ or ‘confide, trust.’

  • We can hope for something. Expecting with desire to receive that which we hope for.
  • We can also place our hope in someone. Trusting them to be faithful.

Holding on to Hope

Hebrews 6:18-20 tells us to “Lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner.”

There is so much to be said in this one verse.

  1. We aren’t hoping for something unknown. God Himself sets our hope before us. It is tangible. A promise we can hold on to.
  2. Our hope anchors us so we can find peace and rest in the midst of turmoil.
  3. We are sure of our hope because this hope has entered within the veil, into the Holy of Holies. We lay hold of this hope within the veil, when we are in the presence of God.

Obtaining this hope requires intimacy with God. Only those with clean hands and a pure heart can enter into the Holy of Holies. It’s in this place, in His presence, that God actually gives us our hope. He sets it before us. He tells us in what and in whom to place our hope and then, just like Abraham, we can be fully assured that what God has promised, He will be faithful to perform.

So, what if we haven’t had an encounter with God like Abraham did where God audibly spoke a promise over him? It’s okay. The Bible is full of promises from God that speak life into us. In times like these, we need to really study His word. We need to ask God to give us a scripture for us to lay hold of and, when we get it, we need to stand on it. We need to declare it just like Abraham did. Let us not waver in unbelief, but wait diligently for God to fulfill the promise. “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.” [Psalm 130:5]

Misplaced Hope

Sadly, one of the biggest hinderances of faith is misplaced hope. When we hope for something that is contrary to God’s heart. Proverbs 13:12 sums it up perfectly. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” The word ‘deferred’ in this scripture can mean either ‘to postpone’ or to ‘yield to another judgement or opinion.’ When we have delayed our hope or when we hope for something other than what God sets our hope upon, our faith is ineffective. We are out of sync with God’s heart.

For example, we may have faith to move mountains, but what if God doesn’t want that particular mountain moved? Maybe, God wants us to climb that mountain in order to meet Him face to face just like Moses did. Maybe, just like Moses, we will find God’s glory on that mountain. God doesn’t ask us to understand Him, but to trust Him.

Again, it’s so important to know God’s heart. Only then with assured hope, we can know God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

When All Hope is Lost

When we feel like we are in a hopeless situation and we don’t have a word to stand on, let us remember GOD IS HOPE!

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 15:13

God will never leave us or forsake us and Jesus Christ is our advocate, fighting for us from the right hand of the Father! When we need something to hold on to, let’s stop looking everywhere else and simply hold on to Him! God is for us, so who can be against us!

And remember, when all else fails, these three will still remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. [1 Corinthians 13:13]

So, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and know with hope against hope that our God is faithful and just. God is our hope. His love never fails and He will accomplish exactly what He promises when our hope is in Him.

In Him… Oneness with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… Hearts beating as one… All in one accord…

There we have assurance, hope, faith, trust, rest, peace, and expectancy!

Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” –Hebrews 10:23

(If you have been encouraged by this post, please share!)

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Walk Like a Blind Man

Photo via http://www.openheaven.com

My husband and I received a voicemail the other day from a friend whom we are believing healing for from cancer. He had called to give us a praise report. Needless to say, I was extremely excited about calling him back to hear the great news. But, before I could pick up the phone I heard God speak, “I am teaching you to walk like a blind man.” My first thought was, “What kind of lesson is that? Blind men can’t see.” I pictured myself walking aimlessly in the dark with my hands held out in front of me grasping nothing but empty air.

But then God immediately replaced that image with a picture of a blind man walking securely with purpose and direction. He had a keen sense of hearing allowing him to navigate safely and rather than having his hands extended to keep himself from stumbling, he held tightly to a leash fastened to his guide dog.

Then revelation quickly came. Blind men rely on their sense of hearing much more than people with eyesight. God wants us to close our eyes and rely completely on His voice. He wants us to become ‘blind’ to the natural realm. The earth around us is Satan’s dominion and is full of deception. When we close our eyes to the natural, God will give us vision in the supernatural, spiritual realm around us. This is God’s kingdom and here we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ.

In this place, God opens our ears to hear His voice which says, “This is the way, walk in it.” [Isaiah 30:21] In this place, our eyes are fixed upon Jesus not circumstances. In this place, our sight is on Him who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope, God calls us to believe and trust Him. [Romans 4:17-18].

In this manner, blind men aren’t weak and definitely do not stumble. God endues His followers with power and the Holy Spirit becomes our ‘guide dog’ leading the way. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor and provides discernment and wisdom to walk in His ways, keeping His statutes and commandments. The word of God illuminates the path before us. [Psalm 119:105]  God even gives His angels charge over us to bear us up, lest we strike our foot against a stone. [Matthew 4:6]

So, back to the phone call. To give you a little background of our faith journey with this friend, when we first heard the news of his diagnosis, we had wanted immediate miraculous healing. Who wouldn’t, right? God is Healer. But the very first words God spoke when we prayed healing for him was, “Endure. Endure for a little while.” Not exactly what we wanted to hear, but we knew God had spoken and was in control.

Enduring is a hard place to be. There’s a struggle in enduring. We had to take our eyes off the diagnosis, not in pretending it wasn’t there, but rather not allowing it to be our focus. When we focus our attention upon the natural realm, fear will creep in until it consumes us. But rather our eyes must focus completely on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith for through Him all things are possible. [Hebrews 12:2; Matthew 20:26]

The things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal. [2 Corinthians 4:18] This was helpful for us to remember while our friend was persevering through medical treatments, including radiation and surgery. God may have us endure treatment for a little while, but He will always be working behind the scenes. Yet all the while our faith is not in the treatment or medications, for these things only offer a ‘temporary fix’ to a problem. Most medications are taken daily because they work only temporarily. However, healing comes from God and God alone. His ways are eternal. He is the cure.

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

This process of enduring is a faith walk requiring us to patiently trust and believe God with a tranquil mind. We trust Him as a good Father who gives good things to his children. We trust Him as Healer. And when our faith falls into cadence with Him, the world around us will fade in light of His radiant glory.

So, I called our friend and was ecstatic to hear that the physicians found no cancer in any lymph nodes and there were no signs of metastatic disease. They believed they had removed all the cancer with surgery. Praise God, that was great news and I rejoiced with my brother in the Lord! God is Healer and the endurance gained in walking this out made his faith much stronger!

This reminds me of Thomas who had to physically see the pierced hands of Jesus and put his hands into the side of Jesus before he believed. But Jesus said, “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” [John 20:29]. This is faith producing endurance, my friend.  Faith that can move mountains. The faith of a blind man.

God has called us all on a faith journey, to walk like blind men. In the same manner we have faith in an unseen God, we have faith for our healing. Just as creation screams from every mountaintop, valley, river, and desert of God’s existence, so does the Word of God scream from every page that God is Healer. Sometimes our healing is immediate. Sometimes we have to endure. Either way, we trust God and believe. We move when He says move, speak what He says speak, and go where He says go. And if we don’t hear anything, we stay the course until He tells us otherwise. Sometimes the road is short and sometimes the road is long.

If you are believing for healing in your life, know that your promises are in the Word.  Stand on the Word of God and walk like a blind man. Focusing only on Jesus. Remember, the promises of God are for him who overcomes. For the one who prevails, enduring through until the very end. We overcome by the blood of Jesus and the very Word of God! [Hebrews 10:36; Revelation 12:11]

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. –Galatians 5:25

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” –2 Corinthians 5:2