Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast. Hebrews 6:19
Do You Need Hope?
Have you ever had a time in your life where you were praying about something and you started off in faith, but as time went on with no obvious answer, you eventually started to lose hope?
If this sounds familiar, I will tell you that you are certainly not alone! In fact, if you are believing God for anything at all in your life, you most likely will face a situation like this, (I know I sure have!)
So, what do we do when we are believing for something, and we don’t see it come to pass in the timing or the way we were hoping?
When I have questions, I look to the Bible, and see if I can draw from people who had similar experiences to answer my questions.
There are various places throughout scripture where we can see that against all hope, God made a way when people put their trust in Him. Just a few of my favorite stories include David defeating Goliath, God parting the Red Sea for Moses and the Isrealites when they were being chased by the Egyptians, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the fire, yet coming out without any burns, or even the smell of smoke!
With all of these amazing stories of God’s faithfulness, we can certainly be encouraged in our own journey, however, what do we do when we feel like the hope that was once blazing starts to dwindle to a flickering flame?
What Does the Bible Say About Hope?
This is where Hebrews 6:12-20 comes in to give us wise instruction on how to believe in hope against all hope! In fact, this passage of scripture is titled, The Certainty of God’s Promise in the NIV translation! Let’s look at what it has to say:
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. “When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised…Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
This passage of scripture was written to a group of Hebrew Christians that were being harassed by others because of their profession of faith in Christ. They were outcasts, impoverished and even being physically persecuted. And we can see that because of these circumstances, they were growing weary, and becoming discouraged.
For us, this same passage of scripture can be encouraging, regardless of what circumstances we may be facing. In the very beginning of this passage, we can see that Abraham was used as an example to us of someone that inherited what they were believing God for by faith and patience.
This passage also encourages us to keep on hoping! It tells us to let hope be an anchor to our soul, (or our emotions), keeping us steady and secure when we are trusting in His promises!
Another passage of scripture that echo’s this same message is Romans 4:18-21, which says:
“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.”
What I love about these two passages are that they are parallel in so many ways, both painting a picture of hope, using Abraham as our example! When we look at Abraham’s life, he certainly had good reason to doubt God would do what He said in the natural. The scripture tells us that him and his wife Sarah were past childbearing years, yet he did not allow this, or the time that passed between God’s promise and the birth of Isaac (which was 25 years) sway him!
How do We Handle the Waiting Time?
We can see from these scriptures that Abraham’s hope was based on the promises of God. Because he knew God, and had a relationship with Him, Abraham was able to be fully persuaded that God would do what He promised. This leads me to my first point, which is that without an intimate relationship with our Father God, we can have a hard time receiving at times, because we have a hard time trusting Him, and His nature. For this reason, I would encourage everyone to pursue their personal relationship with Jesus before anything else, because as you get to know His heart, and what His will is (by reading the bible), you will have a much easier time developing trust in Him, and knowing what His will is for your life. (This is crucial, because if you don’t know that it is His will or promise to you, how can you be assured in hope that He will provide it?)
The second thing that we can see that Abraham did in the waiting was patiently endure in faith. Those two words (patience and faith) are used time and time again in scripture when it comes to describing Abraham, which shows us how essential they are in the waiting time. I have found many times in my own life that God has me waiting on things that I know are His will for my life, simply because He is teaching me something in the process, or it is not the right timing yet. It’s times like these that we need to hold onto hope as we patiently remain in faith, trusting that God will do what He promised at the right time.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are things that are provided for us in our covenant with Jesus (Isaiah 53:4-6), which God gives to us the moment we ask, because Jesus died to provide it, and it’s a free gift that we simply need to receive. However, there are times of trial, temptation, and testing that we can see that even Jesus went through in order to strengthen Him (Matthew 4:1-11 ). We can also see all throughout scripture that God is very orderly, and He cares more about our hearts than giving us something that ultimatley could harm us if it is too soon.
What if I’m Not Perfect?
When it comes to faith, the bible is very clear that when we ask God for something, we need to believe we receive what we are asking for without doubting, (James 1:6). So, when it comes to asking and believing God for something (according to His will), the bible says that we have to stand in faith without doubting. This doesn’t mean that we will always be perfect in our faith, and we can ask God to help us overcome doubt when we feel a lack of faith (Mark 9:24). This scripture goes on to say inJames 1:6-7 goes on to say, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord. This tells us that we do need to deal with unbelief when we are struggling with it, because it can hinder our receiving from God, even if it is His will and timing to provide it.
So, does this mean that in order for God’s promises to be fulfilled in our lives, we have to do things perfectly? Certainly not! If we look more in depth at the story of Abraham, we can clearly see that he didn’t do things perfectly. In fact, he got off of God’s plan in a pretty big way when he stepped out ahead of God, trying to make the promise come to pass (see Genesis 16).I don’t know about you, but this is a bit reassuring at times to me, because I know that at times I run out ahead of God and lean to my own understanding as well.
This goes with out saying that Abraham’s disobedience cost him greatly, (just as it will when we don’t follow God’s plan), but God still brought His promises to pass in Abrahams life, despite him not being perfect. This my friends is a beautiful picture of God’s unconditional love and grace in action…and Praise God, He is still in the love and grace business today!
How Do We Remain in Hope?
If you take nothing else with you today, I want you to grab hold of the very essence of this message, which is HOPE! How do we get and stay in hope when everything around us seems to be falling apart? Let’s look again at Hebrews 6:19, which says, We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
This verse paints a picture of hope being like an anchor, which I love, because it is generally in the ‘storms’ of life, when it feels like we are being tossed around, and out of control that we we need an anchor the most. I like to think of it this way, when we put our anchor of hope down deep in the Lord, and we make the choice to trust Him of focusing on the wind and the waves, He will keep us steady and sure all the way through our circumstances. It is only when we get our eyes on the problem, and allow the waves to get in our ship that we will start to sink…but hope in God is a powerful force that will keep us anchored no matter what storms come our way!
The good news is, hope is not something that we need to muster up on our own! God loves you so very much, and wants to fill you with hope, so he made it very easy…all you have to do is ask! Today, if you feel like you have lost hope, or just want to be re-assured of your hope in the Lord, I would invite you to pray this prayer with me!
Prayer for Hope:
Jesus, I thank you for the hope that is only found in you. I thank you for your Word, which fills me with assurance of your great and precious promises for me. Lord, I pray that today you would fill me with hope, and that you would help me to be anchored deeply in you. Help me to keep my eyes on you Father God, instead of the circumstances, and I pray that you would calm my emotions, my anxieties, and that you would flood me with your perfect peace as I keep my mind stayed upon you. I trust you Father. I know that you are working all things together for my good, and you will turn this situation around for your glory. I thank you Lord for filling me with hope, until it overflows. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!