Most of us go through life expecting and hoping for things to go well. We have hopes about our health, income, comforts, happy relationships and so on. We also know how to work on our hopes, such as by study, saving money, right diet, and so on.
For those who don’t trust in God their only hope is that they can get themselves ahead by doing the right things or that they will strike it lucky, such as winning the lottery.
Those who worship God, however, have a very different focus for their hope. They hope in God, since God is supreme and rules over everything. God is able to make things happen, when we haven’t been able to, and quite apart from a strike of luck.
King David deliberately chose to put his hope in God.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God; for I will again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5
“When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise. In God I trust. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:3,4
God is able to make everything work out for our good. His plans for us are for our good, not for our harm.
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Our challenge as Christians, however, is that, like everyone else, we can put our own energy into achieving our plans and hopes. We can be self-reliant, and feel like “If it is to be it is up to ME!”
Many years ago I attended a motivational seminar where we were challenged with that slogan, to prompt us to action. I wrote those words on a sticker on my desk. “If it is to be it is up to ME!”
A month or so later, however, as I sat at my desk and noticed the note I was struck with how bad it was for me. I scribbled off the word ‘ME’ and put the word ‘God’. Now it said, “If it is to be it is up to God!”
I had turned my attention from trusting God and looking to Him, to looking to my own efforts as the source of my hope and blessing. That is something that is cursed by God. When we put trust in human capacity, either our own or that of experts, and stop trusting God we are in a very dangerous place.
“Thus says the Lord; Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord. He will be like a tumbleweed in the desert; he will not see when prosperity comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.” Jeremiah 17:5,6
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” Psalm 118:8
As recently as this morning I was challenged once again about putting my trust in the Lord. There are some issues I have been waiting a long time to see resolved. I have God’s promise that all will work out, but up until now there has been no breakthrough. Over time I have begun to think more and more about what I have to do to make things happen. Without realising it I had begun to think it is “up to ME!”
I got on my knees this morning and recommitted the challenge to God, reminding myself that there is great breakthrough coming and I have great hope for the future in that area, but it will all be delivered by God.
What prompted that reflection was reading about the children of Israel in captivity in Babylon. They had no power over their situation but God had promised through the prophet Jeremiah that the captivity would end. All they could do was wait on God and hold to their faith and hope.
That is likely the same in your situation, where there are things you have asked God for, or things you hope for and wait on God to do. You may be tempted to take matters into your own hands time and time again, saying things, trying to make things happen, and so on.
I challenge you to refresh your faith in God and put your full trust in Him. Let Him be your hope. Stand on His word and rest in Him. Stop trying to help God. Be obedient if He prompts you to do something, but otherwise rest in Him, knowing He is the true source of your blessing.
Know that “If it is to be it is up to God!” And continue enjoying the life God has given you, being sure you “Hope in God”.