Contrary to hope, in hope
Aksel J. Smith
“Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed …” Romans 4:18. Humanly speaking, Abraham had no reason to hope at all, but in the midst of this hopelessness he believed God with a living hope and rejoiced as if he had already received Isaac.
We have no use for hope and faith when everything appears to be bright and hopeful, as far as man’s view of things is concerned, “for why does one still hope for what he sees?” Romans 8:24.
But when our human reasoning is confronted with a high, thick, impenetrable wall of difficulties and the future looks gloomy and dark, then faith finds a way, and the light shines through.
It is too much for people when things go against them. They become disappointed, discouraged, and worn out. They think and speak in this spirit and are a burden to themselves and their fellow men.
The Spirit of faith
Paul and several with him possessed the Spirit of faith, and in this Spirit they spoke edifying, encouraging, and comforting words. When Paul was a prisoner in Rome, he exhorted the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord always. The more active we are in serving God, the more active Satan becomes in trying to weaken and hinder us from carrying out the works of the Lord with joy. He comes on the day of adversity and paints everything black for us. But hope that shines through a living faith cannot be darkened. Faith considers the day of adversity to be a day of success, because it becomes a day of salvation.
As long as faith has not gained a firm footing in our life, we are thrown back and forth by our deceptive feelings because of unrest and anxiety. Sometimes things look bright, then suddenly everything looks dark again. However, if we become discouraged and despondent, Satan has won the battle, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22.
Laziness and indifference are foreign to faith.
It is possible!
Whenever human reasoning says, “It is impossible!” faith says, “It is possible!” Faith is unreserved trust in God who loves us and who can do everything. His name is Wonderful, and He performs wonders. Though a mother might forget her own child, He cannot forget us. (Isaiah 49:15) Without faith it is impossible to please God, but through faith we please Him, and we become His intimate friends whose prayers are answered and who receive help on the day of need. If He should tarry with answering our prayers when we want Him to act right away, we need to rest in the knowledge 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 single situation.
Laziness and indifference are foreign to faith. We are to fight in faith against everything that wants to hinder us from attaining to the hope we 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.
Excerpt from an article first published in BCC’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”), September 1965.
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