“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.
- We aren’t hoping for something unknown. God Himself sets our hope before us. It is tangible. A promise we can hold on to.
- Our hope anchors us so we can find peace and rest in the midst of turmoil.
- 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]
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
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