John 15:7 caught my attention.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.”
I asked myself; “What would I wish for if I could wish for anything?” At that moment of my life, I could honestly not think of a single thing!
Satisfied, I snuggled into my happy comfortable place. “My God is good …all the time,” I whispered to myself. Then the Holy Spirit asked me: “What are you trusting ME for today?” And just then in my heart, I knew my answer could not be: “Nothing!”
I had to have something I was holding out for! Hoping and expecting God to do; waiting for, to see God’s goodness in my life. Is that not the dialogue of Christians, “I am praying for…” or “I am waiting for God to…” Surely as believers we are a people who are hoping: busy believing for something. We are a people of hope, a people of prayer, looking to God who is capable of so much more than we are in any given situation.
I was convicted of my own comfort and my lack of hope (expecting): I realised that surely between my needs and the needs of others I could think of something to be trusting God for? But in my comfortable, happy place it is easy to settle in that place where my own needs were satisfied, to get to that place where believing bigger, better is not necessary. My comfort stopped me believing for more than this, where I had settled into “all that you have now.”
Comfort can be a dangerous thing spiritually. It can make you settle for less than God has planned for you. What is more, in this world: there are needs, it is a broken and lost world. Jesus himself warned that, “In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33) So even if my life was doing all right at the moment, what about everyone else’s! None of God’s people in the bible ever reached a place in their lives where they were not hoping for something, for themselves, for others, or for the establishing of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
They were always hoping, believing, if not for themselves, then for others, standing in the gap for those that did not have hope.
Isaiah 30:18 describes that our God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, sits on the throne, “longing to be gracious to you” to “show compassion.” He is at the ready: waiting to meet our needs; wanting to meet our needs; able to meet our needs; willing to meet our needs. In fact He knows what we need before we ask Him, because He cares for us like a Father! (Matt 6:8)
God was expecting me to be hoping, He was expecting me to be trusting Him for something! It is His delight to meet needs as a Father delights in meeting the needs of his children.
I concluded that everyone, everyday, should have something to be asking God for, expecting to see His hand, either for themselves or for others (Psalm 27:13)
What am I trusting God for today?
God’s question to me, showed me a new dimension to what it is to have hope (expecting).
- It is precisely when we are comfortable and our needs met, that this expectant hope needs to be revisited and expanded.
- When we need to revisit our foundations and turn up our levels of expectation.
- So that when our lives hit the storms of life (and they will) our anchor of hope does not shift, but is firmly anchored behind the veil. (Heb 6:19)
- Also, when our lives are comfortable, we establish hope for others.
Hope is based on Christ’s redeeming work for us. Rebuilding and strengthening my hope begins with me, spending time refocusing on my Lord, who He is, what He is capable of. Because my heart was not so familiar with these truths, I was no longer in tune with His heart and what He is about, His purposes and plans. I was comfortable, but out of tune with His heart.
1 Sam 2:6-10 (MSG) reminds us of a few things.
God brings death and God brings life, brings down to the grave and raises up.
God brings poverty and God brings wealth; he lowers, he also lifts up.
He puts poor people on their feet again; he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope,
Restoring dignity and respect to their lives— a place in the sun!
For the very structures of earth are God’s; he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation.
He protectively cares for his faithful friends, step by step, but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark.
No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle!
God’s enemies will be blasted out of the sky, crashed in a heap and burned.
God will set things right all over the earth, he’ll give strength to his king, he’ll set his anointed on top of the world!
Remembering and thinking about Him, tuning into His heart, refreshes our expectant hope, reminds us what He is about and gets us believing again. Even the greatest, strongest “believer” amongst us, has to do some work at ‘hope refreshing.’
Look at Jeremiah, he spends an entire book lamenting and in the middle of it all, he suddenly realises that he needs to reset his hope Lam 3:21-26. He reminds himself of His Lord and why it is good to wait expectantly for Him. In fact He comes up with a whole list:
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Jeremiah strengthens the foundations of his hope and is a good example to us that we all need to rekindle hope in our lives on a regular basis. Perhaps our hope (expectation) is eroded because we have forgotten the foundations upon which our hope is based. Our heart is no longer tuned into who HE is, and so when He asks, “What are your trusting me for?”, like me, we say; “Nothing at the moment!”
- I am going to revisit some favorite passages, look again at my favorite promises and search out some new ones.
- I am going to look at old journals and remind myself again of conversations the Lord and I have had about Who He is and what He is capable of.
- I am going to revisit again what Jesus did for me, why He did it, and where He is now in relation to me.
- I am going to lift my eyes off my comfortable self and exercise hope and expectation for others, so that when my storm comes, my hope is fresh and new, firmly anchored in the veil.
- I am going to start praying hope for others.
I am going to go out today and remind someone else what it means to hope in the Lord.
Father, forgive me for getting comfortable and not maintaining a heart that hopes and expects from You. Thank you that you long to hear the cries of our hearts, both for ourselves and for others. Help me spend time in Your presence so that I can again become in tune with your heart, make my heart burn for the things that concern you. Help me look beyond myself, to the needs of others.
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