I have an infection that I want to pass on to you, an infection of hope. Biblically “hope” is a certainty based on the character of God. And what is He like?
You, Lord, are the God of hope, the God of guaranteed good. What you deem will come to pass, what you promise will happen. You are the Almighty One, unlimited in your power, unstoppable in your plans and inexhaustible in your resources.
You are the Guardian of goodness, the Lord of Love, the King of kindness, the Prince of peace, the Savior of sinners, the Light of life and the God of grace. From you flows only what is good, so we can have perfect hope (certainty) that in your power and love, in your grace and wisdom you will bring into our lives only what you will use for good. What you bring to us, whether we like it or not, whether it is painful or pleasant, will be for the furtherance of your Kingdom, the overflowing of our cup of hope, and the increase of your glory.
Nice words, but practically speaking, what does this mean in every day life? When things come that are not to our liking, we can and should respond with two acts of faith. First is to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, praising our Great God for what He has allowed.
For instance, when we recently got some unwanted, unpleasant news, we prayed, “Thank you, Lord, that our insurance did not pay for Barbara’s trip to the emergency room, meaning it will cost us more than $3000 out of pocket!” Giving thanks like this is an act of teeth-gritting faith, a faith that flows from the peace, joy and hope God pours into our lives as we trust in Him.
Second is to rewrite this event from God’s perspective: “You, Lord, are the wise and powerful One who could have made the insurance company pay, but you chose otherwise. All the money I have is yours, so if you choose to have me spend it this way, I can trust you. I let go of this money. I praise you now for what you are doing in this event, for how you are going to use it for your glory and my good. Thank you for the chance to trust you, to get up the shield of faith by praise when this event goes totally against what I would naturally like and value.”
Such a willful act of trust brings the fulfillment of Romans 15;13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that your lives may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
As I trust, the Holy Spirit will cause this hope to splash over on those around me, stimulating them to hope and trust as they hear me speak of our wonderful, powerful, trustable God. Or, on the other hand, if I complain instead or trusting, I will quench the flow of hope to all around me.
God calls us to cooperate with Him in using each event to bring more glory to Himself, whether it be by our praising when we would rather complain, or whether it be that He works in some wonderful way to change things.
In our case, God has chosen to answer wonderfully by guiding the insurance company to reverse their decision, without any direct input from us; they have said they after all are going to pay the whole $3000! This is surely the out working of Psalm 50:23: “He who offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me and opens the way that I may show him the salvation of the Lord.”
May praise be the keynote of our lives in and for all things!