Let’s begin with this question:
What is the major enemy of hope in your life?
What is the one thing that, more than any other, threatens to weaken your hope?
Could it be:
discouragement, suffering; weariness, exhaustion.
Perhaps the main enemy of hope in your life is simply the passage of time.
The waiting that constantly chips away at your hope, day by day, month by month, year by year.
As Proverbs 13:12 so eloquently puts it, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”
And that’s true, isn’t it?
What is it that you hope for the most?
What is it that you pray about the most?
Are you hoping and praying for someone in your family to discover faith in Jesus for themselves?
Do you put up with their comments about how foolish your faith is?
Are you enduring tirades about the “hypocrites” and “holier than thou” church people you associate with?
Even though you may fall short, do you hope to do your best at being a good example of what a real is?
Are you wondering if God is ever going to answer your prayers for their salvation?
Day after day, month after month, year after year, with little sign of change, is hope slowly vanishing?
What is it that you hope for the most?
What is it that you pray about the most?
Are you waiting for a promotion at work?
Are you waiting for an illness to clear up?
Are you waiting for the rain and storms to stop?
Waiting, waiting, waiting.
As time goes on, and nothing seems to be happening is your hope fading away?
How can we keep our hopes from eroding over time, under the constant drip, drip, drip of doubts and disappointments?
First of all, we have to understand that with God,
a delay in response is not an indication that He won’t answer.
What we consider a delay is actually God’s perfectly timed response to our prayer.
The passage of time, in and of itself, tells us nothing about how God is going to respond to our prayers.
Maybe that is a difficult concept for us to grasp, because it’s not the way other people operate.
If you ask someone to do something, and nothing happens, and nothing happens, and nothing happens, then after a while it probably means nothing is going to happen.
They’re not going to do it.
The more time that passes, the more unlikely it is that they are going to do what you asked.
We can get distracted.
People can change their minds and not bother to tell you.
People put things off and hope you’ll forget about it.
People break promises.
But God is not like that.
God doesn’t experience time the way we do.
He doesn’t forget,
He does not get too busy, or lose track of what He is planning to do.
God does not break His promises.
In Psalm 90:4 it says of God for Him
“a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours.” -- Psalm 90:4
For God, that prayer you prayed so long ago,
that thing you are hoping for, is still fresh and current in His mind right now.
The passage of months and years may seem agonizingly slow to us.
Every hour that goes by chips away at our hope.
We think, “Is God ever going to act?
Why hasn’t he answered my prayers?
Did He even hear our prayers?”
But for God, minutes, months, weeks and years -- even centuries -- they’re all the same.
There is no “fast” or “slow” with God.
There is only the right time, and the wrong time.
When the time is right, He will act, whether that’s today, tomorrow or ten days or ten years from now.
He’s not being slow. He’s not dawdling.
He’s not delaying. He’s not dragging his feet.
He’s simply waiting for the right time, the perfect time.
God has a perfect plan for you and you can place your hope in Him.
You can bring all of your requests, your dreams and your wishes to God in prayer.
You can bring all of your fears, your anxieties, your difficulties, your pain, your cares to God in prayer.
Bring your requests to God with open hands and acknowledge the limitations of your understanding, your knowledge or your wisdom.
Commit yourself and your circumstance to Him, trusting that when He answers your prayer,
He will do what is good, He will do what is right,
in His great love for you He will do what is best.
Listen to the prayer of the Psalmist in Psalm 25:4-5
Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
Is your hope in God this morning?
Are you really trusting in Him all day long?
Don’t give up and abandon that prayer as unanswerable because you have not see immediate results.
Keep at it; keep saying, “God, my hope is in you and you alone.”
Be persistent in your hope and in your prayer.
Give God the opportunity to work.
Maybe some of you here this morning are struggling with hope.
Maybe what I’ve said so far sounds good, but perhaps it feels like you have had your hope crushed.
Hope doesn’t just happen, it’s something we have to make an effort to maintain.
Let me remind you of the words of God
to the prophet Isaiah, God said in Isaiah 49:23:
“Those who hope in me will not be disappointed”.
Friends, put your hope in God the Father,
trust in Jesus the Son,
allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and through you and you will by not be disappointed.
Our hope isn’t just a wish or a desire, its a confident trust in God and in His promises.
Our hope is a reliance upon God’s wisdom, and love, and power.
Our hope is not in something, our hope is in someone.
Our hope is in Someone who loves and cares for us.
Our hope is in Someone whose wisdom and understanding is far beyond ours.
Our hope is in God.
Trust God to always do what is right, and good, and best.
God does everything at precisely the right time, according to His sovereign plan and purpose.
There was a “right time” for Christ to be born, to die, and return. The Roman authorities didn’t determine the time of his death; Jesus did.
As the Preacher of Ecclesiastes tells us, there is a time for everything:
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Maybe the problem, the reason our hope is so fragile, is that we think we know when those times should be.
If God doesn’t answer your prayers right away,
it doesn’t mean His answer is “no”.
It may just mean that the time isn’t right.
Keep praying, keep hoping, keep expecting God to act.
Don’t give up.
Don’t stop hoping.
Don’t stop praying.
God loves you more than you can imagine.
Sometimes God uses waiting to test the genuineness of our hope.
Is our hope really in Him, or are we just trying to use Him to get what we want?
Are we trusting in God to do what is right, or are we trying to dictate to God what He must do for us?
Time exposes whether our hope is false or true.
Real hope waits; it perseveres.
It doesn’t give up. It remains faithful; it continues to believe and obey, and it looks to God alone for what it seeks, no matter how long it takes.
Friends even when this life is over, our hope doesn’t end.
Because we know that God’s promises will all be fulfilled -- promises of resurrection,
and forgiveness of sins,
and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
That’s not just our hope it is God’s certain promise to those who know Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
Don’t give up. God is faithful.
Trust in Him.
Keep hoping; keep praying.
At the right time, He will answer.
Ask Him to show you the right path,
Allow Him to lead you and teach you,
He is the God who saves.
All day long trust Him
Put your hope in Him.
You will not be disappointed.