“When there was nothing left to hope for, Abraham still hoped and believed …” Romans 4:18 (GW). Humanly speaking, Abraham had no reason to believe and hope at all - everything looked hopeless. But his hope was in God, and he fully believed that God would do what He had promised, and he showed his joy and happiness as if he had already received Isaac.
We have no use for hope and faith when everything looks bright and hopeful, “for why does one still hope for what he sees?” Romans 8:24.
Hope and believe!
But when we face great difficulties that look impossible to overcome and the future looks dark, then we need faith. That's when it is important to hope and believe!
It is often too much for people when things go against them. They become disappointed, discouraged, and tired. They think and speak in this discouraged spirit and make life heavy for themselves and those around them.
Paul and those who were with him had the Spirit of faith, and in this Spirit they spoke upbuilding, encouraging, and comforting words. When Paul was a prisoner in Rome, he encouraged the Philippians to be always glad in the Lord.
The more we are active in serving God, the more active Satan becomes in trying to stop us from doing the works of the Lord with joy. He comes when things are most difficult and paints everything black for us. But if we really have faith in God, then we don’t lose hope. Faith sees a difficult day as a good day, because then we can experience what God can do in us.
If we don’t have a strong faith, we are thrown back and forth by our feelings because of unrest and worries, and it's difficult for us to firmly hope and believe. Sometimes things look bright, then suddenly everything looks dark again. But if we become discouraged and lose hope, Satan has won. In a Norwegian translation it is written: “For God has not given us a spirit of discouragement, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 (RSV).
Faith says, "It’s possible!"
Whenever human reasoning says, “It’s impossible!” faith says, “It’s possible!” Faith is total trust in God who loves us and who can do everything. His name is Wonderful, and He does wonders. A mother might forget her own child, but God will never forget us. (Isaiah 49:15.)
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), but if we fully believe in Him, we please Him and we become His close friends whose prayers are answered and who receive help when they need it.
We would like Him to act straight away and answer our prayers, but sometimes it takes a long time. Then we need to stay in rest, because we know that He is perfect in wisdom, goodness, and love, and that He will act at the right time for our eternal benefit and that of our children in each situation. That is what we hope and firmly believe!
Laziness and an ‘I don’t care’ attitude don’t have anything to do with faith. We are to fight in faith against everything that wants to stop us from reaching what we hope for and look forward to with joy. He answers our prayers according to the need and longing in our heart. If we believe, we will also see and experience God's glory.