James 1: 6 NIV But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
How often have I’ve been cautiously optimistic? Often waiting for the other shoe to drop. Deep inside I know that all things will turn out for good.
Romans 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Yet, I also know that bad things happen to good people. Our pain is our gain? Our disappointments are our strength?
Hebrews 12:7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
2 Corinthians 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
As a child, we fall and fail. Over time we learn not to repeat a behavior that results in an unfortunate outcome. As we age, our life experiences become a bit more complex. They are wrought with emotion and scars which at times become open wounds. Our human solution is protection.
If I prepare and shed light on the situation, then this outcome will not hurt again. Safely navigating, avoiding, and hopeful that life will produce less tribulation. But, the dark storm lingers keeping me just on edge enough to suppress any sense of hope.
Hope. A feeling of expectation and trust. How do we hope for the best when we know that the best isn’t always what happens? My prayers, unanswered. My needs, unmet. My wants, ignored. My decisions, insulted.
The non-fulfillment of one’s hopes is disappointment. Can I continue to hold on to desire when the sadness of it’s loss becomes all consuming?
Turning into oneself and lessening the probability of pain seems enticing.
Matthew 21: 18- 19
Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt,not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Our faith must have no doubts. An unwavering confidence that all things work for good. But, how do we let go of our hopeful doubt? To understand this fully we must seek out Abraham.
Romans 4: 17-25
17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Abraham was promised by God that he would be the father of many nations. His doubt could have been warranted. A man of this age. A woman who could not bear a child. Easily they could have decided to be cautiously optimistic. Yet, they were faithfully submissive in receiving the gift of what God had in store for them. They praised the outcome prior to it’s arrival. They marveled at the amazing power of what God can do when its in His will.
As I sit and think of Abraham’s majestic faith, I realize that God has made many promises through His words and the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus for me. How can I doubt his greatness? How could I insult Him by not praising the pit-falls, knowing He will graciously redeem me in all circumstances?
My hope turns in knowing I am His and He is love.
Romans 5: 1-11
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 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.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.