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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hope Waits

Romans 8 : 24 - 25, For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. NKJV

Have you ever found yourself in a valley, and it seemed as though God was no where around? Even though we may "feel" forsaken, we know from His Word that He has not left us. In Romans 12: 3 we find that God has given every person the measure of faith. We're also told in Hebrews 11: 6, that without faith, it is impossible to please God. So if God has given us faith and requires us, as His children, to live and walk by it, then He might be telling us that there will be times in our relationship with Him where "things" will put it to the test. Since we know that God can't lie, and that He won't ever leave or forsake us, and since we also know His Word is truth from cover to cover, the only other component in this relationship is "us."

We all need something that is greater than our human abilities to help us stand, not fall, during trying times. We need something strong so when it looks like "its" over, we can know beyond a doubt that God is still with us, and we can lean on the everlasting ARM of the Lord and not faint. As long as we hold on to the faith that we have placed in Christ and the Word of God, then we will have the strength to keep our relationship intact, no matter what weapon Satan forms against us to try and separate us from walking with our heavenly Father.

One of the Old Testament names given to Jesus by the Father is Emmanuel. Emmanuel means, "God is with us." If we truly believe that He is with us, then we won't lose faith when something unexpected occurs. However, there are times when tragedy hits hard, and we can begin to struggle with our faith in God because we can't see the goodness of God anywhere. Whenever something adverse hits our faith walk, and we lose faith, and we lose all hope, it means that we don't see any positive in our situation or even how God could possibly work it out for our good. The human response to such a scenario is to feel as though God has forsaken us. If this should be the case, then our next reaction will be to quit moving forward. Once we stop moving forward in faith because we have given up on God, the tendency will arise to want to go back. Old ways can look inviting during a time of deep anguish and pain because of the familiarity of the past mixed with the uncertainty of the future. 

Remember, we are talking about the principle of faith and how we are to lean on that faith when trouble comes against it. As Christians, we must learn effectively how to activate the power of faith so that we might overcome this world and continue moving forward in our relationship with the Lord. Whenever Israel came upon an unexpected trial in the wilderness, and it seemed all hope was gone, the natural, human response was to give up and want to go back into Egypt, the land of bondage.  Consequently, God can now use the Israelites as an example to teach us how to respond correctly to hopeless situations. 

The writer of Hebrews defines faith for us in a way that can help us to better understand it, and to utilize it more effectively against Satan's devices. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. As little children, we used to go out and look up at the sky at night and wish upon a star. This type of faith has no substance or true hope because a star can't supply our needs or desires. However, God can, and He will. When God makes us a promise that He will never leave or forsake us, then you can stand on that promise when hell lashes out against your faith in Christ.

We must understand that our faith is the substitute for our ears, eyes, and human abilities when all hope seems to be gone. True faith in God's Word will produce a valid witness, not the "blind faith," like a fairytale. If you should encounter an attack of the enemy that leaves you doubting the faithfulness of God, BE STILL. Wait until you can begin to sense the witness of God's presence in your heart surrounding you before you react. Generally, fear will try to seize your heart and cause you to feel alone at the moment something destructive occurs. Don't believe the lie of Satan or react. Instead, be still and wait until you can begin to see the salvation of the Lord.

I used the verses from Romans 8 about hope today to help you understand that faith sometimes has to wait. Instead of allowing fear and unbelief to fill your heart when tragedy occurs, just be still and wait through the hope that only comes from a life of walking by faith. After a season of working through your emotions, you will begin to experience the faithfulness of God once again, and then instead of sliding back, you will desire to continue moving forward.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation, and something tells you to go back, just remember, there's nothing back there. God is with you and in your future. God doesn't live in our past because unbelief hangs out there. If you're too weak spiritually to move forward, then let hope strengthen you to wait on God to remove the darkness and make a way of escape for you. True hope will wait on God until He can clear the way for us to continue moving forward in our relationship with Him. God hasn't forsaken you; you just got blindsided by Satan. 

God Knows the Way Out of Here,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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