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>Hope: Believing or Doing?

September 15, 2010

>Romans 4:18 has been on my heart and mind for a while. What, exactly, is: “hoping against hope”?

I looked up the verse in a few different translations:

  • Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…

  • Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping…

  • …when it all seemed hopeless, Abraham still had faith in God

  • When there was no reason for hope, Abraham believed because he had hope.

The Message is my favorite:

  • When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.

The dictionary defines hope as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best or, to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

I disagree.

For me, hope isn’t necessarily believing things will be different, certainly not with any level of confidence. It’s simply doing the things that don’t make sense anymore. Prepare for rain, whether or not you actually believe it will rain. At least, it usually starts out that way.

Lead with actions and the heart will follow.

“…deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said He would…”

To live as if it were going to happen. Doing.

What do you think?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2010 4:08 pm

    >For me, hope is all about HIM. Do I have enough faith in the character of my God to hope in His promises when my own strength and/or logic fails? That's what I think it boils down to for anyone who is baptized into Christ and agrees to take up his cross daily: either we believe God is going to be faithful to his promises, or we doubt. If we believe, we'll have hope. If we doubt, it’s not because God has failed, but because our understanding of Him has. That may be putting it a bit simplistically, but I don't want to bog down your comments with a sermon. 🙂 From my personal experience I believe that God takes special care to show that He is faithful to keep His promises to people who are new in their relationship to Him. That way when times are harder later on, we can fall back onto the promises of our Lord – because He has proven faithful. Here’s where I get that from:Hebrews 10: 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.Romans 5: 2b-5 And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.Hebrews 11: 1-2Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.I hope *grin* that one day we all will be commended for my faith as well.P.S. In a nutshell, I think you're right.

  2. September 15, 2010 4:25 pm

    >The Message translation really hit home for me.Taking action in the belief that God has a purpose for us and we can do and be all things through Him.

  3. September 15, 2010 5:02 pm

    >I want to spend more time thinking about this. We tend to use hope in all the wrong ways, don't we? Kind of like 'love.' We cheapen it with talk of loving pizza and summertime. Hope is the same way for me. It is always colored with disbelief, or maybes, or cross-my-fingers. I agree with you in thinking that the Jesus kind of hope is so much different than longing for a desired, pleasant out-come. It is knowing that, regardless of the outcome, HE IS hope. His very self. And so I can, in faith, have hope (have Him)…knowing that He knows so I don't have to.Great things to think about today!

  4. September 15, 2010 5:11 pm

    >Adelle,For me, as with most things with faith, it comes down to a decision. I choose to believe. I resolve myself to have hope. I have decided to follow Jesus, as the song says.Hope, for me, is not some wellspring of emotion from my soul, it is setting my mind, deciding whom I know God to be, and acting accordingly. I think you're right, though, that hope and action are inextricably intertwined. If you truly have hope, if you truly believe God will do what he says regardless of the odds, then your actions will necessarily reflect that. I think it is very easy for us to sometimes profess that we have hope in God and in the new life he has created in us, but if our actions do not reflect that, then how much hope can we really have? I think if we believed a little more in God, had a little more faith in the good works he claims to be able to do, then we would be a little kinder to those around us because we would believe that God can work good in their lives.Thanks for starting off my day with some good thoughts on God! Love ya!-Grace

  5. September 15, 2010 5:37 pm

    >Hi Adelle, thanks for the invitation. Very interesting subject, hope. I've blogged about it in the past, in another blogging community, and may add my thoughts in my current environment one of these days. The Bible is chock-full of Scriptures about hope, and all of them about hoping in the Lord. He, truly is our only hope. There's even a Scripture that says "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." Indeed. Whenever we place or hope in people or in things, we will almost always be disappointed, or left hanging out to dry. That's not being pessimistic, but realistic. In fact, there are times when I've felt much better after giving up hope in certain people and certain outcomes. That was the gist of my previous writings on this subject–sometimes, it's hopeless to hope.However, it's never hopeless to place our hopes in GOD! That is the only true place where they are safe.Thanks for stirring up some thoughts.

  6. September 15, 2010 11:05 pm

    >I find hope mysterious. It's something I want to have, I know I'm supposed to have, and life is empty when hope is gone. Of course we know that the gospel is mysterious, too.Thanks for getting me to think here! XOSandy Reluctant Entertainer

  7. September 16, 2010 4:02 am

    >I think hope is not giving up, Hope is resilience. Hope is knowing that all things are possible through HIM, no matter what rhyme or reason tells you. ALL things are possible through him and through that, hope is always available for the taking.If we choose to believe.God bless my friend!

  8. September 17, 2010 10:36 am

    >Hope is hanging onto Truth..and never giving in…never giving up….holding onto what He said….listening to my heart even if people say nope…won't happen…impossible…or even if it looks impossible…nothing is impossible when He's running with you…

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