Ever Increasing Hope

“Our hope depends not on our own ability to figure things out…” Heidi Baker

When I find myself without explanation, I become agitated, by default. I love taking things apart, understanding how they work, their meaning, and their function. I need, desperately, to understand concepts in order to accept them. I need to know their purpose before I deem them worthy of attention. In the natural this is a rather good attribute to have, one that eliminates unnecessary hassle and time spent on ineffective methods and purchases. However, regarding matters of faith, such an approach is often detrimental to the mechanics of belief. In my consistent need to understand, I often find myself at a loss of faith, because faith does not come by what I can see or know. It is evidenced by what I cannot see, and when we hope patiently for it, things start to manifest. Only, when I indulge my need to know and understand, yet I am without explanation, I rapidly find myself doubting God’s nature and promises. I am basically saying, “I can only believe after the manifestation,” and from this sprouts an entire world of distrust. I then find myself on very shaky ground. I cannot let my belief in God be dependent on His ‘good behaviour.’ He is sovereign, and He is good. I do not get to bargain with Him, He is holy. I hope, because hope does not disappoint.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

My hope so often depends on my own ability to understand. How often are we not plagued by ‘why?’  When things do not work out the way we have hoped we often feel we can only move on and accept the reality if God can give us an acceptable answer – one that will specifically quiet our reasoning.  The need to verify His reasoning stems from distrust. And form disappointment stems despondency. This is why it is so important to hold on to the hope we have. I can, in my own reasoning, draw from a deep well of disappointment, which manifests itself in shame. Shame of unfulfilled potential, shame of unrealised dreams, shame of not living and having what He promised. But the hope that comes from Him does not put me to shame. When we feel that He has failed us, or abandoned His mission in our lives by not doing as was promised, we need to re-evaluate our perceptions of His heart. It might be that He didn’t live up to the parameters I set out for Him to perform in. It might be that He did not deliver on the promises I inferred based on my personal preferences. When we are to give a sure answer for the hope we have, it speaks of my very idea of who He is. Not material gain.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. 1 Peter 3:15

It reminds us to sanctify the Lord in our hearts, and remember our hope with meekness. How do you sanctify the Lord in your heart? By simply not defiling Him in your thoughts. How can you give an answer for having hope when you have lost all hope by reducing the character and integrity of God in your heart due to not getting what you wanted.  Remember who He is, He is holy and just. When we look on Him and remember He is God, it becomes hard to be preoccupied with lack. I am not recommending the denial of lack and problems, I am advocating for a healthy heart that still hopes in the living God. He is not your enemy, withholding good things, waiting for a version of you to emerge worthy enough. If this was the case, Jesus would never have died. He loved us first, and He loves us still.

Yes, we can and should trust Him for supply and provision – He is the God who supplies- but we can no longer allow our perception of His faithfulness to His own Kingdom to be influenced by what we got out of the deal. He is God, and He is good. Following the ideological train of ‘unfulfilled promises negate the validity of every other word spoken’ sets us up for heart sickness. The ‘why, if only, and what if’s’ are allowed, but be weary of dwelling on them. If my need to understand the truth of my circumstances is greater than my hunger for His truth, I become self-absorbed and truth serves only as self-indulgence. Know Him, in all your ways, acknowledge Him, in it all – even the failures.

He wants us well. He wants our hearts thriving. He wants us hopeful. He wants us living out the life He bought. I want to remind you today that His intentions are good, and He is a good Father. Regardless of circumstances, regardless of the questions, have hope today. Hope does not put to shame. Delay in fulfillment is no justification for living in doubt and shame, take hold of your thoughts and put your trust in the living God once more.