Most of us don’t want pain in our lives. We want everything to be hunky-dory. We’ll pray for “traveling mercies” and we thank God when everything goes well. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. Think about it, how would our lives be if we wanted bad things to happen? The thing is, though, those good things happen and so do bad things. I believe that without all of the bad things that happen in our lives we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good. Good and bad are two sides of the same coin. Life is made up of coins and they have two sides. However, unlike accepting coins, when they’re freely given, we often, as in terms of good and bad, only want the one side of the coin. I want to take a look at the coin that is hope.

Hope is belief. If I have hope then I am believing something. Allow me to suggest that where there’s hope there’s doubt. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If I am certain, then there’s no need to hope. Hope means that I have a belief that something is going to turn out in a way that I want it to turn out, right? Subsequently, if I have a belief that something is not going to turn out how I desire then I also have doubt. You cannot have hope without doubt. Let’s look at it like this:

What we want to happen is hope.
What we do not want to happen is doubt.

I want to look at faith, because I don’t see it like a coin, because faith is neither good nor bad, in itself. Let’s look at what Merriam-Webster says:

2 b (1) firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

Faith is a belief in something. Hope is the expression of something happening in the way that we want it to happen. Doubt is the expression of something happening the way that we don’t want it to happen. When you’re sitting on a chair, you don’t have hope that it will hold you up unless the chair has demonstrated that it might not be able to do so. You have faith that the chair will do what it’s supposed to do. When we are expressing our hope in God, through faith, and we believe Him to be good, then we believe that He will do good.

Let’s look at some expressions of faith, hope, and doubt in Scripture.

Mark 9:21-24 (NIV)
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Here the father of this boy came to Jesus to heal his son from demon possession. The father had lived a long time within these circumstances but he hoped that Jesus would be able to do something. Hope is expressed in faith through his action by going to Jesus for healing. After the disciples couldn’t cast out the demon and heal the boy, the father’s doubt was likely soaring. However, he didn’t turn away and leave. He even asked Jesus to help him with his lack of belief in hope rather than doubt. Did Jesus turn the man away because of his doubt? No, He did not. Jesus told the man that “everything is possible for one who believes” and healed the boy. Jesus didn’t turn the man away telling him that He wouldn’t help him because he had a doubt. It was the man’s faith in hope, perhaps as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), that allowed his son to be healed.

Matthew 14:28-31 (NIV)
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

When you read of Peter walking on the water, here in Matthew, what do you see? Peter demonstrates his hope through faith in Jesus when he declares, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Peter’s belief that Jesus was the Christ gave him hope that he could do anything that Jesus told him to do. However, once Peter got out of the boat (faith) and started walking on the water (faith) he doubted when he took his eyes off of Jesus. We can surmise that Peter didn’t merely step onto the water, see the waves being buffeted by the wind, and sink immediately. I expect that Peter walked some distance towards Jesus as Jesus walked towards him because I don’t see Jesus just standing there while Peter walked towards Him (James 4:8). He had to have walked towards Peter, or else Peter traveled a bit of a distance, to be so close that Jesus was able to reach down and save him.

Walking on water and staying on top of the water requires persistent faith. A constant source of hope being expressed in faith. All it takes is a moment of doubt and down you go.

As Believers, we never want to have any doubt. This is where I find thanksgiving to be very helpful. Scripture tells us, “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24 NIV). It’s fantastic to ask God to heal, bless, save, and deliver. He’s our Father and He wants us to come to Him in prayer. There is something, however, that changes in our mindset when we start thanking God for the things we ask for in prayer and stop praying for them as if they haven’t happened yet. It’s like we’re no longer flipping a hope coin but a hope/hope coin that will not be shaken.

Do you hope for better days? Are you tired of placing your hope in things that don’t deliver? God is the source of hope, and when you hope in Him, He will not let you down.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. You are my only hope. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.