A popular definition of hope is a belief that something good will happen. The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
We hope that a certain thing will happen, but what if it doesn’t? If hope is based on our feelings, how do we feel when it doesn’t happen? Often we become fearful, frustrated, disillusioned… Perhaps a more realistic definition of hope is simply “wishful thinking.”
And yet there is a hope that goes beyond the popular definition. To the believer hope is based on God’s unchanging Word. To the believer hope is an “optimistic assurance” that something will be fulfilled.
Hope, however, must be activated and as with everything else God provides, faith is the activator. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This is a familiar passage to most of us; so familiar in fact that we may tend to overlook the significance of what it is actually saying. Faith is what gives substance – form, body, consistency – to our hope. Faith is evidence or proof of what is there, but beyond what we are able to see.
I know what you are thinking. “That all sounds great, but in real life I struggle with faith. I pray, but I don’t feel any different.”
Most of us are easily swayed by our feelings. Our hope is the “wishful thinking” kind of hope. We hope something will happen and we have a “feeling” that it will or it won’t, but no real conviction that the thing we hope for will actually come about. And yet God has promised. Now it’s up to us to choose to believe God or continue to struggle to hope based on how we feel.
The reality is, until we learn to exercise our faith, hope will never be more than wishful thinking.
Romans 10:17 tells us that, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Romans 15:4 explains, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Faith and hope are both products of God’s Word. So if we commit to meditate on the Word we can expect to increase in faith and hope. It all sounds so simple doesn’t it? Then why do we struggle? Why do we allow our feelings to control what we believe and how we react to circumstances in our life?
These are the questions we confont in our study which we call Pathway to Freedom. You may not see it now, but there is hope – the genuine God kind of hope; an “optimistic assurance” that He will do what He promised.
If you are ready to take the next step email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you get started. Hope is just the beginning. At the end is Freedom!
Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry