The Miracle of Hope
We all understand why God listed faith and charity as two of the three eternally divine qualities, but it seems a mystery to many people why Paul included “hope” in that trio. Let me share with you what I have learned about hope.
Not long ago I spoke to a man who told me that even though he had given his life to Christ and did not drink, he was an alcoholic and always would be. I shared the Word of God with him that says he is free indeed, and again, that he is a “new creation” and all the old things have passed away including the bondage of alcohol. The old man is “dead in Christ” and the new man is a begotten son of God.
God’s sons are not alcoholics, addicts, thieves, liars or anything else the old man was. You would think the man would be glad for this news, but instead, he was very upset with me. He thought I was sheer audacity that I suggest or even HOPE that he could be free! You see, he constantly imagined that if he were to lose his own self-control, just for an instant, he would be back in the same bondage. What he had done was to exchange one bondage for another. His whole life was one grueling struggle against alcohol and he expected it always would be. He never allowed himself to HOPE, even for a moment, that he could be as free from bondage as any other Christian. If he dares not HOPE for it, how can he ever exercise faith to receive it?
HOPE is an idea in our minds, the birth of a desire. We haven’t received it yet, we have spoken it yet, it is literally a spiritual imagination. This is one of the most important things a Christian can possess… a vivid imagination. What good does it do for all God’s faith to reside in us, if we dare not first imagine what we can obtain through that faith? Many Christians that love God with all their hearts remain bound in sin, sickness, and oppression because they have not dared to HOPE or spiritually imagine that it could be otherwise.
There was a certain man whose encounter with Jesus is recorded in John 5:1-16. His life had been monotonously the same for 38 years. He had a debilitating illness with no HOPE of a cure. He knew that at least one person would be healed “at a certain season” at a pool called Bethesda. But his speech revealed that he had no HOPE that the “one person” would be him! Even though he was in the right place at the right time, he had no hope of ever obtaining his health because he did not foresee or “hope that circumstances would ever change. Even when the son of God appeared before His eyes, coming into his life speaking words of power, all he could do was opine that he couldn’t receive the promise because “this is how it had always been with me.” Someone was always there first and that someone was never him. But he kept on routinely coming to the right place at the right time for the right reason. In His great mercy, Jesus birthed a miracle of HOPE in this man and he was made whole.
There is a lesson here for us. Many ministries are hopelessly bogged down in mediocrity because “this is how it has always been, and we expect it will always be this way.” Yes, we are preaching and teaching the right message at the right time in the right place with the same results. You see, we think (and the key word here is “think”) we can’t grow because of the area we are in, or the attitude of the people around us. We think we can’t change because this is how we were raised, this is how we were taught, this is the way we have always done it! We do not imagine that our ministries could radically change, could multiply in depth and worship and size. How many of us are lying at the proverbial pool of Bethesda, debilitated by past experiences, crushed by past defeats, bruised and broken by past failures, still preaching, still teaching, still waiting for the moving of the water, but never dreaming of a real difference! Charles Spurgeon told of a young minister who came to him sadly, confessing in the full year that he had been preaching he did not know of even bringing one convert to Christ. Spurgeon quickly snapped back, “young man, do you expect that every time YOU take the pulpit someone must be converted?” Taken aback that he must have sounded so presumptuous, he humbly replied “Oh no sir!” “Then,” said Spurgeon, “THAT is your problem!”
Take heart! Jesus has come! He is in your life, in your heart, still speaking words of power, still birthing miracles of HOPE into dead dreams and lost visions. He wants to take YOU to a higher plane; He wants to empower YOU as never before, He wants to use YOU in ways you have never envisioned. He wants to enlarge YOUR boundaries. He wants to use YOU to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cleanse lepers, to preach with power and demonstration, to reap the harvest of souls in these final days before His coming.
There is a concrete connection between HOPE and faith. Where there is no hope there will never be faith, so DARE TO HOPE! DARE TO IMAGINE! And remember, God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all THAT WE ARE ABLE TO ASK OR THINK!
Covenant Treasures School
PO Box 667 Elgin, TX 78621