We are living in a time when there is a great need for hope in our world. Our nations. Our families. Our churches and other religious institutions. As I listen to people in person. In the newspaper. On TV. On the internet. There is a great sense of people losing hope. I (Ray) know what it means to lose hope and need hope. I’ve been there. But I can also tell you, based on personal experience, as well as what I have heard from other people, history, and the Bible, that no matter how bad things appear to be – no matter how bad they really are – there is always hope. Let me be honest, some of my hopes have not been and never will be fulfilled. Some will only be partially fulfilled. And I’m okay with that, because most of those hopes are really just wishful thinking. Great if they come to pass. But no big problem if they don’t. However, there have been and still are, a few really big things I hope for. some of these have been fulfilled. Some I see are in the process of being fulfilled. And there are those which I am certain will be fulfilled.
How can I be certain which hopes will really be fulfilled? My experience has been that when I developed and tried to fulfill my hopes in my way and on my schedule, my hopes have often not been fulfilled. However, when I sought God had in the way of hopes for myself, and I said “yes” to Him, my hopes were or are being fulfilled. When I agree with God concerning my hopes, and act as He guides and directs me, I have faith that God will see to it that they will be fulfilled, because they will in fact be part of God’s will. I have faith in God, not simply because someone told me to. I have faith because God has demonstrated that He fulfills faith-based hopes.
In the Bible, Hebrews 11:1 explains the relationship between hope and faith. “To have faith, is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.” Hope is that which you desire as you move into the future. And the fulfillment of that hope must be based on faith in God. Also, in the Bible, James 2:17 reminds us that “When faith is expressed in words alone and there are no actions, then it really isn’t faith”. Faith is not just saying “I believe”. It’s not just going to your place of worship at a specified hour. Not just trying to be good. Not just asking God to do what you want Him to do. To have real, active faith, means you don’t simply lay your desirs before God and expect Him to make it all happen in your way and on your schedule. I’ve discovered that God always fulfills all faith-based hopes, but in His way and according to His schedule. And most of the time He expects me to participate in fulfilling those hopes. Some say that Jesus says “Ask me anything and I will do it”. But that’s not the whole of what He says. Jesus says “I will do anything you ask in my name” (John 14:14)” That means He will do anything you hope for that is in accordance with God’s hopes for you, because God knows what is best for you. Have faith. God fulfills faith base hopes.
How do you know God’s hopes for you? It’s a process:
1. Listen to God to discern what He wants to do with, through, and for you, so you will either begin or continue to become the person He created you to be.
2. Accept and apply everything God will give you to do your part in fulfilling His hopes for you. The Biblical word for that is “grace”. In other words, say “yes” to Him, believing that He will provide everything – physical, mental, and spiritual – that you need
3. Take action by participating with God in fulfilling His hopes for you – in His way and according to His time.
This process is not a one time thing. It must be repeated over and over again. Because will adjust His hopes for you depending on circumstances, time, and locatation. Also, most of us, no matter how sincere and effective we are in using this process, don’t always get it just right. So we have to go back to God for what we might call a refresher course. Ideally, you will seek God’s hopes for yourself every day. And it’s never too late to start this process, even if it takes place in the last moments of your life in this world. You will then leave this world knowing that you will spend eternity – forever – with God, as He continues to use you for His purposes.
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.