Hope is an incredible word, one of the unsung words of Holy Scripture. Hope is the powerful ability to rejoice in a promise that has not yet been fulfilled. Hope shouts with delirious joy over that which God has said, because God said it, even before the time of reaping. Faith is assurance that God always keeps His promises and full confidence that He cannot fail, but hope is the glory we enjoy while we wait. The loss of hope is a shattering experience. In the effort to restore hope to their broken hearts, children create all kinds of illusions when divorce rips their parents apart. Much of the wild imagination in our world is the mental struggle to deal with a hopeless life. The world knows very little about hope because real hope is a work of the Holy Spirit in the heart and soul of the redeemed of the Lord.
The Scripture records hope as one of the three ingredients of a successful life. This passage reminds us of our weaknesses and the fraility of flesh. Listen carefully to this passage. Â“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.Â” (1 Corinthians 13:11-13) Love is breathtaking, faith is powerful, but hope is the glue that holds both of them together. Hope bridges the chasm, while faith waits for the promise, and hope sustains the soul while love has a chance to grow. No wonder the Spirit put hope in the middle between faith and charity.
Abraham was GodÂ’s choice to be His example of hope that would not stagger. This man of faith had the promise of a son but his wife, Sarah, could not conceive. They waited until the time of life had passed but still no promised son had arrived. Sarah had a lapse of faith, and even hope, and induced her servant into the bed with Abraham and the world has never been the same. The Middle East still boils with the result of that moment of Sarah and AbrahamÂ’s failure of hope. Abraham recovered from this sin, hope was restored, and God was faithful. If anyone refuses to lose hope, the promises of God cannot fail.
Apostle Paul records the end result of an unstaggering hope. Â“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.Â” (Romans 4:17-18) This hope was not based on human imagination as so much of the faith world claims today. This was hope that rested on unquestionable truth. The Word of God is a literal book, and our hope must be on a firm foundation or we play games with GodÂ’s people. Abraham did not stagger because God had spoken. The passage continues, Â“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.Â” (Romans 4:19-21)
Our God is supernatural and, Â“He calleth those things which be not as though they were.Â” When God calls something Â“that is not as though it were,Â” the creative powers of His very being spring forth and that promise becomes reality. This is the foundation of Biblical hope. No wonder Abraham refused to stagger.
Hope, like faith and love, is a divine grace that we must rest in God to perform in our lives. Hope cannot be manufactured by flesh and all of its activity. It cannot be worked up like emotions. It must be received by surrender of our all unto His Spirit to manifest in us. GodÂ’s Spirit described it for us. Â“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.Â” (Romans 5:5-9)
What a beautiful picture of hope at work by His Spirit in the human heart. Cast your hopeless heart at His feet. Cease your struggle to manufacture this great work by flesh. Depend totally upon Him by ChristÂ’s blood to continue the work of grace until Â“faith, hope and charityÂ” are manifest, not manufactured by flesh, but manifest by GodÂ’s wonderful presence in you, His redeemed saint.