From the time I was in third grade to my early twenties, I played competitive basketball. In college, before each game, I would put on my lucky sports bra and socks with the belief that without them, I wouldn’t play well. As my teammates and I would enter the gym for every game, each one of us would jump up and slap the beam over the door. Somehow, this singular action would elicit some sort of fortuitous outcome for the competition. It was tradition, it mattered in the moment…but, ultimately, it was meaningless.
What do crossing your fingers, knocking on wood, tugging your earlobe, wishing on shooting stars, horseshoes, four-leaf clovers, and rabbit’s feet all have in common?
I know some people find solace in the idea of wishing good luck or believing good fortune is the result of random happenstance and total chance. Today, I no longer wear lucky bras or socks to influence fate. I no longer wish for luck.
I have faith.
I have hope.
I believe that the God of the universe is in control of everything.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (ESV). The Amplified version says it this way, “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”
I have seen the evidence of my faith and hope to doubt its existence.
I have stood at the threshold of oceans and marveled at the vastness of the water and its waves. Even more profound, is the fact that the ocean has a boundary, knowing exactly where to stop and where to begin. When I see the evidence of this power, it is effortless for me to put my trust in an unseen God. It is possible to have faith that, “comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses” when I can see with my own eyes that even the waves and wind obey Him (Job 38:10-11; Psalm 104:5-9).
I’ll be honest though, when life starts to get complicated and things around me spiral out of control, I sometimes doubt. There are days when my confidence fails. Circumstances and every-day life situations influence my emotions. Children get sick, loved ones die, pandemics lay waste…and all earthly hope seems lost. But then I have to pause, take a deep, lung-filling breath, and inhale the truth of God’s Word. I must set my mind to focus on the promises that I know to be true. I must put my faith in my heavenly hope.
The real issue is not what I have hope in, but rather who is my hope?
WHO is YOUR hope?
Do you believe that God is who He says He is?
Jesus Himself said, “Anything is possible if a person believes” (Mark 9:23, NLT).
There have been many times I’ve had to pray, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24, NLT)! And, just because you have doubts does not always mean that you are afraid. Sometimes, we can feel fear and still move forward in our faith.
In her article Fear is not the opposite of Faith, fellow writer Amanda Evans shares, “Fear is not the opposite of faith, and faith is not the opposite of fear. They cannot be opposites because fear is a feeling and faith is a choice and gift from God. Feeling fear does not necessarily mean you have no faith. By remembering fear is something we feel, we can choose a right response when we experience it.”
This world is desperate for hope; people are anxious for security, disturbed by things going on around them, and they yearn for answers.
The reality is, we already have THE answer — Jesus Christ.
We do not have to remain victims to circumstance, chance, or coincidence.
We have a choice. We can choose HOPE.
So how do we practically do this?
We infuse our spirit and saturate our minds with biblical truths.
Here is just a glimpse of the evidence of hope we can receive by reading, studying, and meditating on The Word. If you can, read these promises out loud:
- If we are in need or oppressed, we will never be forgotten or left without hope. (Psalm 9:18)
- We can let our souls find rest in the Lord, for our hope comes from Him. (Psalm 62:5)
- We can count on the Lord; we can put our hope in His word. (Psalm 130:5)
- Before He formed us, He created a plan for us. (Psalm 139:16)
- The Lord delights in us if we honor Him and put our hope in His unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11)
- God will renew our strength and give us endurance for everything He’s called us to do. (Isaiah 40:31)
- God is in control and nothing is a surprise to Him. (Isaiah 46:10)
- He attends to us and restores us; He has good plans for us and our future. (Jeremiah 29:10-11)
- For those who love God and are living in the center of His will, He will work all things for our good. (Romans 8:28)
- We can allow God to transform us into a new person by changing the way we think, then we will know His perfect and pleasing will for our life. (Romans 12:1-2)
- We can use Godly weapons to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning, destroy false arguments, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
- God, who began the good work within each of us, will continue His work until it is finished. (Philippians 1:6)
- We have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)
- Through our faith, we are justified by His grace, are heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven, and have the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)
- We can hold tightly, without wavering, to the hope we have in God because He can be trusted to keep His promises. (Hebrews 10:23)
What beautiful truths…and those are just a few of the promises we are given!
As we begin this new year, I want to encourage you with personal stories of HOPE. I have invited four women to share a portion of their personal journey. Their stories are testimonies of the goodness of God and the hope found in Him. So, if you can’t rest on your own faith, see the faith of others. Read their experiences and see how they have been victorious over difficult, messy — even devastating situations. I am prayerful that you will be blessed by these fellow Warrior Raisers.
Every time I hear or read a testimony, it uplifts my spirit, strengthens my faith, and gives me hope. When I get a good report from someone I’ve been interceding for — it encourages me and increases my faith. So, the next time I make a request before the Father in prayer, I can go with confidence because I know He answers prayer — He answers my prayer.
Remember, we overcome the enemy by the blood of The Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). Simply put, a testimony is evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something; a public profession or acknowledgement of a fact. 1
Testimonies are evidence that our hope and faith are in a real, true God who is alive and active…and we cannot doubt His existence.
There is no need to slap a wall, rub a rabbit’s foot, or pull an earlobe — we can stand up, sit down, or get on our knees and cry out to the God of the universe. And, when we do, He hears us (1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 5:14-15). In fact, “The God of hope fill[s] [us] with all joy and peace as [we] trust in him, so that [we] may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NIV).
I am confident this series will bring you hope and strengthen your faith.
Pray with me as we begin our journey through the testimonies of these Warrior Raisers!
“Father, I give you control. You tell the wind and waves where to go so, You can certainly handle the details of my life. There is no happenstance — You know it all before any of “it” ever happens. I cast all of my cares upon You. I give You my fears, worries, doubts, and insecurities. I submit it all to Your will. Thank You for encouraging me and uplifting me in the exact ways my heart needs it. You know me so well. I love You. Amen.”