We use the words every day. Hope. Trust. Faith.
They’re so glibly thrown around that we forget the real power of these words.
I “hope” it doesn’t rain. I “trust” we’ll be ok. It’s not the way God looks at the words.
Rick Warren, a teacher I admire a great deal, recently endured an unimaginable tragedy in their family. Earlier today he went onto Twitter and wrote “The real tragedy is that most people never trust God until they have to, and then they have no experience to fall back on”. Later he wrote “It’s not enough to have hope. We must persue hope, practice hope, and preach hope” and “Real hope doesn’t deny tragedy. It faces it head-on. Hope says ‘yes it’s really bad, but I still trust God.'”
Tragedy hits us in life. We can’t always avoid it. The enemy of our souls strikes out at us at every opportunity. He exploits our weaknesses to seek to drive us away from God and into his trap. He minimises the power of words until we become unaware of how much power we wield.
Proverbs 18:21 in the Amplified Bible says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].” We live oblivious to the Truth. Hebrews 11:1 in the same translation says “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, <sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”
Jesus faced tragedy head-on. Fully human, he endured the full range of human emotions. He laughed with His friends, wept for loss, and experienced anxiety so intense He sweated blood! He also faced death, and defeated it.
Jesus did this by practicing Trusting God for everything, from the smallest morsel for His own needs to feeding a crowd that was maybe over 15000 people, since only the men were counted.
He stated that the things He did, we would do also, and still greater than that. Personally I’d be praising if half the issues I face would heed my prayers and depart. For 41 years I have been hounded by sicknesses in my body, cancer in my family, and death of some of the people I cared most about. I even reached a point after my commitment to Jesus that I fell so low leaning on my own strength and pride that I attempted suicide.
More than once.
Then one day it hit me. God brought some scripture back to my memory. He reminded me that I was more than a conqueror, but that my declarations over myself were killing me – literally. I spoke nothing but death over myself for almost 2 years. It wasn’t an easy pattern to break, but through His strength in me I broke it by learning to trust Him, and to hope for a future that seemed out of reach, then to learn to have faith inspired by God for that future.
Is my life perfect? No. There are many things God is working on in me, but I’ve learned that it’s ok to be a leaky vessel, because God will just keep topping me up when I ask Him to – which is usually several times a day.
My heart goes out to Pastor Warren and his family. I have Biblical Hope that from the aftermath will come pure Gold, refined by God’s fire, and I pray constantly that we will all Trust a little more today than yesterday.