As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hope--The Place Where I Stand

When most of us use the word "hope", we really mean we wish something would happen. It's about as likely as Santa showing up with a bag of toys at Christmas, but you never know. Maybe someone overheard your praying and opted to play Santa for you. Not likely you'll get the metallic green Mustang convertible, but you can "hope".

According to the dictionary hope actually means "a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment."

In contrast, hopeless means:
  • "giving no ground for hope,
  • incapable of solution, management, or accomplishment,
  • having no expectation of good or success,
  • not susceptible to remedy or cure,
  • incapable of redemption or improvement."

In other words, that thing you want ain't happening, but then, you really knew it wouldn't, didn't you?

Too often Satan hisses that question in our minds and hearts, and we drop our heads, nod silently, and walk away defeated.

But, Warrior Daughters, we are not called to walk away. We are called to stand, and if hopelessness is what drives us from the battle, then hope must be what holds us in place. It must be the ground where we stand without reservation, without flinching, without apology. Hope is a fixed gaze into the expectation of promises kept...answers still in the making... but as settled and fixed as the the breath in our bodies. It nourishes us to the core of our beings. People die without it. It is not an option.

But what does it really mean to hope? What does such a simple, misused word mean to a Warrior Daughter?

In Hebrews 11:1 we are told, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

In basic grammar "is" is a linking verb. If we wrote this mathematically, it would say:

Faith=being sure of what we hope for + being certain of what we do not see.

Hope is an essential element of faith. But what exactly does it mean? To get an understanding, let's look at meaning of keywords in this sentence.

The word "sure" in Greek is hypostasis. Succinctly, it means, "reality". In other words, faith is knowing the reality of that for which we hope. It's reality. Real. Done. It does not lend itself to situations or condition. It is reality. Period.

"Hope" is elpizo (long o). These are the comments from my Greek/Hebrew Study Bible. "To hope, expect, wish for, wait for, count upon. Although the root meaning 'to hope' retains in both the secular and sacred context of the word, its underpinnings are vastly different. In common conversation and vernacular usage, elpizo is nothing more than hope, desire, or anticipation of something that may or may not occur. In contrast, the hope of Christians is based upon an objective certainty. Believers hope for what will indeed take place. Theirs is an assured, confident expectation, looking forward to what God has promised and guaranteed."

Stop and look at that for a moment. The confidence has nothing to do with doctor's reports, legal papers, bank statements, personal performance (don't take grace as a right to do wrong, though), or ugly letters in the mail or email. The hope, confidence, expectation, absolute conviction of certainty is based on only one thing--God's promise.

The word "certain" is elenchos, "to prove, reprove, convict, convinced." I love the notes on this one. "Here the idea would be that faith itself is the guarantee, the objective (absolute without being subjective to any outside effects) assurance (insurance) that those goods promised by God, not presently seen but vouchsafed by Him, will indeed be delivered...The Word of God and the promises articulated by God in His Word are the basis and guarantee of unseen hopes."

Warrior Daughters, our hope is not based on mere desire. Our hopes are based on the fact that God already paid for the fulfillment of His promises. All He has promised was bought with the blood of Jesus, and no one can steal away from Him. If He bought healing, it can't be stolen by statistics or negative medical reports. If He promised a restored marriage, it cannot be stolen by a girlfriend, family history, or porn. If He promised the return of a prodigal, no negative report will change that. NOTHING can be stolen from the hand of our God. All of His promises are yes and amen, and nothing can change that. THAT is the ground upon which we base our hopes.

Finally, the word "see" is blepo (long o). It literally means what you can see with your eyes.

What does all that mean? It means...

Faith is knowing the reality of God's ability to keep His promises and being sure what what He said will come to pass no matter what our physical eyes see.

Hope is not an empty wish that I brace myself against so I am not disappointed when it comes to nothing. It is the place where I camp out while watching for promises to manifest. It is the strength in my hands that keep my sword and shield steady when the battle rages and the enemy wants me to believe I have been abandoned, that my King is not faithful, that the situation is impossible.

Hope is where I stand because I know God is there, already victorious, even when I don't see Him.

Copyright Jerri Phillips 2009

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