Hope Against Hope, Part 2

Hope is like a golden cord connecting us to heaven. The more we cling to this cord, the more we can allow the Lord to bear the weight of our burdens and to draw us closer to Him.

Have you ever felt hopeless? Have you ever felt like you are literally walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death? Have you ever felt like you wanted to run, but there was nowhere else to go? You pray and you pray and you pray, but the Lord just doesn’t seem to answer. Instead, everything gets worse and worse.

Over the next few months, I want to write some articles about the incredible blessings of HOPE. What hope really is; why it’s so vitally important; and, how hope is our only “anchor” when everything else around us is crashing and burning. God is not only the Author of all Love, the Bible is also His message of “hope” to a dying world.

My motive for writing these articles is simple: I see hopelessness everywhere; not just in non-believers, but wide-spread in the Christian Body. And, since I am living in a similar hopeless situation right now, I want to use my own experience to help others walk through their difficult times without falling away, but instead letting those same circumstances push them even closer to the Lord.

Without hope, it’s a proven fact we will become barren, infertile and totally lifeless, and the enemy will come in, kill our dreams and destroy our faith. I know, because I’ve recently been there! Proverbs 13:12 says without hope, our heart will become sickand no “fruit” will be produced in our lives. My prayer is that the Lord would use my words not only to help others “step out of the flame and into His Arms,” but also help them turn their challenging situations into a “well of blessing.” (Psalm 84)

Someone said to me recently: “You don’t die if you lose your faith; but you do die if you lose your hope.” And, oh, how true this is! Listen to a few other comments written to me in the past year about “hopelessness”:

  • “My vision has been destroyed, so I have no reason to go on.”
  • “I’ve lost my meaning, my purpose and my hopes and dreams, all at one time.”
  • “I feel broken, torn, weak and lost. I know that God is the answer, but I don’t seem to be able to reach Him anymore.”
  • “I’m adrift, having lost my anchor, and yet, not knowing how to recover.”
  • “What I have heard from the Lord is not what’s happening in my life.”
  • “I feel like Jesus did in Matthew 27:46 when He said: ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’ He tells us other places in the Bible that He will never leave us or forsake us. Where is He now?”
  • “Like Job, the thing I greatly feared has come to pass in my life.”

Hope is like a golden cord connecting us to heaven. The more we cling to this cord, the more we can allow the Lord to bear the weight of our burdens and to draw us closer to Him.

Charles Spurgeon once said: “Hope…is like a star, not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, but only to be discovered in the night of adversity.” From my own perspective, especially now, this is so true.

Like I mentioned in my article last month, I’ve wanted to write a book on “hope” for years. Three years ago, I completed my first draft, but after everyone read it, they all very politely said: “Something is still missing. It’s not complete.” So, I put it aside. One year ago, however, the Lord showed me exactly what it was that was missing in that first manuscript — “personal experience.”

That was the day I was told I had a malignant melanoma in the mucous area of my nose (a stage three subcutaneous cancer, not a skin cancer) and only the removal of my entire nose area would save my life.

The doctor went on to say that if I did nothing, it would be fatal within a few months. Wow! Is there any more “personal experience” involving the loss of hope that one could have? My whole family was there and all of them burst into tears.

After praying and contemplating what the doctors had said, I decided that I had to make a choice. Either let God use the whole experience for good and share it with others; or, feel sorry for myself, go downhill and literally die. Thus, I thought there would be no better time (nor greater personal experience) than to finish the precious book that I began over four years ago… when life was going so smoothly. So, as I write these articles, bear in mind that the Lord is teaching me these very same things.

Hopelessness occurs when you pray and pray and pray and still nothing happens — nothing changes. In fact, just the opposite occurs. Everything continues to turn out against you. In my own situation, I got to the point where I didn’t even know how to pray anymore. I had expected so many miracles to come out of my ordeal, but instead, everything backfired and turned downhill.

I received another letter last week that said almost the very same thing: “What about the change we all waited for God’s Love to bring? What happened to the zeal we once knew as we reached out to grasp the pearl of great price? We felt incredible feelings, sang inspiring songs, listened to awesome testimonies, experienced spiritual revelation and absolutely believed in miraculous intervention. Why then have so many of us lost our focus? Why do so many of us want to turn back…”

The question on all of our minds is: How do we reconcile the traumatic things that so many of us are going through right now with God’s Word?

Most of my life I’ve had “hope” in Christ, but it always seemed more like a cerebral or intellectual thing, not a tangible asset. In fact, even after I began teaching Bible Studies, I could not have told you the difference between “hope” and “faith” even if I wanted to. But, after all the earth-shaking things that the Lord has allowed in my life the last two years, and specifically in the last few months, He not only has shown me what “hope” is, but also the importance of intimately knowing His faithfulness and His trustworthiness.

Through my own difficult experiences the Lord has shown me how to “see” His Hand in the darkness, which of course gives me the hope that He still cares and the endurance I need to carry on. I not only have faith that Christ is who He says He is, but I also have the trust and the hope that He will perform His promises to me in His perfect timing and way. I know He loves me and I know He will keep His Word to me no matter what I see, no matter what I feel and no matter what I think.

No matter how long it takes, no matter how bad it gets and no matter what I have to go through, I know He will work all these things together for my good.

Hope and Trust

By the way, did you know that the word “hope” and the word “trust” come from the very same root word? “Hope” is the Greek word elipso (Strong’s #1680) and “trust” is the Greek word elipizo (Strong’s #1679). Therefore, hope and trust essentially mean the very same thing. Hope is simply trusting God’s faithfulness. And that, of course, is what the Christian life is all about.

Philippians 1:12–14 really gives me courage: Paul says, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me (Paul) have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel. So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and all other places. And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear…”

This is my absolute prayer—that God Himself would be glorified in all that He allows in my life. Also, that God would give me the confidence to walk towards the unknown future with the ability to “see Him who is invisible” (no matter what is going on in my life) just like Moses did in Hebrews 11:27. Second Corinthians validates this and tells us that our short time of distress here on earth will result in God’s greatest blessings in the future:

“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are [tangible], but at the things which are not [tangible]; for the things which are [tangible] are temporal; but the things which are not tangible, [the spiritual things] are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:17–18

The Real Reason for our Salvation

Did you know the Christian life is like a “race”? Hebrews 12:1 explains it this way: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…”

So whether we like it or not, if we are believers we are already enrolled and entered into that race. The goal—or the finish line—is what Philippians 3:14 calls “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

The “prize of the high calling” is the privilege of being able to rule and reign with Christ in the coming kingdom. Our life here on earth is simply the training ground for that privilege. “Hope” is a vital part of God’s plan for us to reach that “prize.” Hope is not only the connection to the Lord during the difficult times, it’s also the anchor that will keep us from straying and getting off course as we are running the race. In other words, without hope we’ll never reach “the finish line.”

What’s so sad is that many of us have not been taught the real reason for our salvation. Thus, we haven’t really understood why we have been called by God; what God expects of us here and now; and where He is taking us in the future. Consequently, the question remains: if we don’t understand what our future “goal” is, then how on earth can we be expected to have enough “hope” to weather our present challenging circumstances? We won’t! We won’t have the confidence, the trust or the perseverance that we need to endure the dark times.

Hope finds its fullest expression in endurance under trial. That’s why hope must be a “living hope.” Like faith, hope cannot depend upon something we experienced three years ago. It must be a living hope—a hope based upon God’s Love and His faithfulness today. Then, we’ll be able to cross over that “bridge” towards the future and see that Tree of Life on the other side.

As Proverbs 13:12, once again, reminds us: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of Life.”

 

by Nancy Missler
©2014 The King’s High Way Ministries, all rights reserved
www.KingsHighWay.org


Comments

Hope Against Hope, Part 2 — 8 Comments

  1. Hello, I noticed there isn’t an update on you Nancy. The last post was in Sept 2014. Praying for your healing and your continued faith and hope in our Heavenly Father. Hoping the medicine you are now on will help bring the blessing of healing to you. Also hoping for an update.

  2. Nancy,
    I am reading your “Be ye transformed” right now and listening to the cds of it too. I first read ” Why should I be the first to change” and it changed my life and my marriage about 2 years ago! I then read “The way of agape” and have listened to Chuck for many years now. I would like to give you hope that God is using you to bring others hope. I know you are truly a vessel used to pass on these lessons. I to have health issues and understand the helplessness we can feel during these battles. I will continue to lift you up in prayer to Him “the great physician” thank you for your continued encouragement. Your sister in Christ, Vicki Reinsvold

  3. Thank you Nancy. I was diagnosed with stage III Melanoma at age 33 and it was in my lymph nodes too. Reading your thoughts and experiences regarding hope have inspired me so tremendously. You are in my prayers…

  4. Thank you Nancy for your constant perseverance and being real when times are a struggle for you. I so appreciated this devotional on Hope. My heart can get so sick over a situation that I have prayed about for years. I will place my trust again and again that the Father knows best.
    I will be praying for you today.

  5. Thanks for sharing your life with us Nancy.I pray for the manifestation of your healing and for your comfort and strength.Your message of Agape Love and Hope Against Hope has ans will do so much for the Body of Christ. In the dark days that are upon us, as the systems of this world continue to fall into corruption we need to be know that its okay to suffer in Christ. I believe God is using your testimony to undo years of out of balance faith and prosperity teachings which has many believing that our faith must be weak if we sick or in need. To truly honor God our relationship with Him has to be based on more than quid pro quo religious tactics but a real sincere and complete abandonment to Him, trusting, believing , hoping for that Blessed Day when heaven and earth will pass away and we will step out of mortal and into immortality!Bless you my Sister!!!Stay encouraged!!!

  6. Thanks Nancy for your truthfulness. May God bless you. Jobs experience is hard for us to understand when we hear of his trials, not really thinking long on his situation, loss of children (all of them) loss of finances, loss of prestige, a wife battling with all the same things, and three miserable friends. Our God is there right next to us or not very far from us, He loves us and will carry us home. Nancy God is greater than all that Satan can throw at us, remember he can only throw at us what God has allowed him to.

    I love 1Peter 5:9 “Stand up to him, firm in faith, and remembering that your brother Christians are going through the same kinds of suffering while they are in the world.”( The New English Bible.) Cancer seems to be our greatest threat, it seems to strike terror in everyone, the media have a field day with it, I have lost loved ones to it, and it has terrified me in the passed. Now my husband has it and we decided or he decided to try natural therapies and the quality of life is far surpassing the run around and trauma of more conventional therapies. People say we are brave, but bravery is for those who do otherwise.

    I have just turned 60yrs and feel overwhelmed with tiredness and changes in my life seem like mountains. When I think of what you are going through I feel ashamed that I feel so down, yet my situation and your situation are real and God is there in His word, comforting us and encouraging us through the testimony of the ancients, prophet and apostles and so on. Hope and faith are really the same word, they seem to give different ideas but God is faithful to Himself and will never change His mind regarding His chosen ones, we must not forget that. After reading this I feel I have been a bit preachy, but really hope that you are encouraged. I think 200yrs ago life may have been harder, but maybe they had less choices, we have 100’s of thousands of choices all the time, to get us away from Gods’ Word. Memorizing Gods word seems to sink down into our spirit to uplift us and keep us going.

    Nancy you are an amazing person who uses all you have to enlighten others to the wonders of Gods word. I have been touched by many of your writings. Fight the good fight and Praise Our Father God and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A Sister in Christ Erin. P.S. This is the first time I have sent an email, I don’t like facebook or twitter and technology frankly overwhelms me. But your story touched me.

  7. Thank you, Nancy, for your honesty in stating that trusting God doesn’t mean everything turns around all at once. The most credible testimonies come from people who, like yourself, are honest enough to admit their continuing struggle and failings.

    Steve Flood

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