The power of hope.
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (NIV)
Joy goes deeper than happiness. Happiness is temporary and dependent upon the circumstances a person is in. Because of this happiness can come and go, it is never commanded to be happy all the time. Even Christ was not happy all the time. But joy is commanded by God to be present in us always. We are taught to even count trials and tribulations as joy. Be joyful or rejoice in all circumstances. But how can we do this?
Hope is the sense within us that God will do something. He may not do what we ask, but He will do something. Hope never holds God to a deadline. Hope gives God freedom to do what He knows is best. Faith believes for God to do a specific thing, but hope helps us when God doesn’t respond the way we want.
Faith maintains the choice to believe in something, but hope gives faith a foundation to stand on. Hope holds up our faith with the knowledge that even when it may seem that God has not heard our prayer, He is still going to do something which will be better than what we asked for because it is from His wisdom, not ours.
Faith rests in the power of God but hope rests in the character of God. Hope finds joy from the intimate knowledge and confidence in His character. God is love so He is always loving. God is always working for my good. He continually prepares me for greater things. He will not break His promises. He will never stop loving and working for me.
In faith, we pray, but our limited wisdom may not ask for what is best. Christ intercedes for us to perfect our prayer and present it to the Father on our behalf. What God finally does my look completely different. To not get frustrated with God when we have to wait or suffer through what seems like unanswered prayer, the hope we have sustains us and pushes joy to the top.
We have confidence that God will not let my imperfect desires or motives keep Him from acting on my behalf. My hope is in Him assured of His character that never changes.
Prayer, help me to know you so well that hope will sustain me with joy in all circumstances. Amen.