Do you find yourself putting your faith in hope? That statement may seem confusing to some of you. To understand what I am trying to say, you first understand the difference between faith and hope.
Merriam-Webster defines hope as: to cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true.
Merriam-Webster defines faith as: belief and trust in and loyalty to God.
The biggest difference that I see between faith and hope is one is a desire, and one is a belief. When we hope for something, we want it to come true. When we have faith in something we believe and trust it is true.
When you put your faith in hope in a Biblical structure, you are creating two separate outcomes for your prayers. Here are two examples of prayer that I am sure that you can relate to. You can fill in the blank with whatever your prayer is about. “God, I hope you will help me with my ______ Amen.” “God, I have faith in your power, I trust that you will help with my ______ Amen.” One prayer creates a wish list for a God whom you know exists. The other prayer shows that you believe and trust God with your prayers with the outcome.
Romans 8:24 NASB “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?”
Matthew 21:22 NASB “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
When we specify what our resolution is, often we find our prayers unanswered the way we want them resolved. When we trust in God to deliver to us the outcome that he sees fit, he always answers our prayers to fulfill his plan. God always answers prayer. You might pray and pray for something to happen the way you want it to happen. God does not always think your plan is the best idea. God will always answer your prayers. Sometimes the answer is no.
For the longest time, it was hard for me to understand that no was an answer. I found myself putting my faith in hope. Hope made prayers like a wish list. As a kid, I remember praying that God would give me something. Sometimes I wanted God to take away something or change the situation that I was dealing with. The prayers were often empty wishes that had no Biblical bearing. Until I figured out that I needed to have faith in God, I kept on stumbling with my prayers.
How do we stop putting our faith in hope?
Our hope needs to be our faith. Having faith in God, gives us hope for the future. Believing that God will have our best interests in mind should give us peace and comfort. As Christians, we are tools that God uses to further his kingdom. Just like Matthew 21 says that what we ask for in prayer, we will receive because we believe. When we believe, we know that God will take care of us. When we hope, we doubt that God will answer our prayers. We do not have faith in the divine being that God is when we lack belief.
Did the disciples lack faith in Jesus?
It is hard seeing fellow brothers and sisters in Christ struggling with their faith. They have one foot in the water with their relationship with Jesus. The best example I can give of this is found in Matthew. When Jesus walked on water, he called out for Peter to walk on water to meet him. Peter lacked faith and began to sink.
Matthew 14:28-33 NASB “Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
One of the biggest struggles we face as Christians are our lack of faith. If you find yourself lacking faith, re-evaluate what you are doing in your walk with Jesus. Change your prayers to a conversation of trust. Let go of your desires of what you want and in turn, rely on what God wants for you. Trust me; God will provide. He will help you heal no matter how dire the circumstances in your life are. Have faith, and you will be amazed at how your life will change.