There has been an unprecedented attack against the Bride of Christ, believers and those who stand for truth this past month. Satan has directed his principalities, and those ‘self’ filled minions who do his bidding, to destroy the hope of those who want justice, truth and light to prevail. This has dragged many into despair and discouragement. Our Father has been using this time to teach us how to battle for hope and thwart the plans of satan.
April 3, 2012 was a warm spring day in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. The day before we had left the home we were staying in because our host had become verbally violent and aggressive. Since the welcome was gone, we left. That night we slept huddled beneath the iron stairs behind The Lord Beaverbrook Hotel. The warmth of the dryer exhaust was the only way to keep the night chill away. As the sun rose, we knew we needed to find another place to stay. We did not possess the gear to spend another night outside in the cold.
In this milieu of homelessness, I left my family at the soup kitchen and went for a walk to a nearby park. There, behind a small building, I sat and sobbed. The tears flowed freely as hopelessness gripped my heart and burst forth. All the agony of the past 6 months of hunger and homelessness broke, and I could not contain the pain. I was sure we could not continue and was ready to throw in the towel on following God in faith.
When I returned, it surprised me to find that my eldest daughter had somehow arranged for us to stay at the Fort Nashwaak Motel for a month. In a single moment, my hopelessness was replaced with gratitude for God’s surprising provision.
The nature of hope
Lack of hope can destroy a person faster than any hardship.
Prisoners of war in the horrid conditions of Japanese prisoner of war camps testified they could endure a great deal of suffering as long as they held on to the hope they would someday be released. If they lost that hope they would die quickly. We endured a great deal of physical deprivation on our journey of faith but only because of the hope that God would deliver us one day. Satan was unrelenting in his assault. If we lost the battle for hope, as I did on April 3, great amounts of discouragement would fill the void, threatening to overwhelm our little troop.
How to battle for hope
We have to learn how to battle for hope.
The main difficulty we have with hope is twofold. First, hope lives in the heart and is problematic to grasp with our minds. This prevents us from understanding how to defend ourselves against attack. The second problem we encounter with hope is passive immaturity. As spiritual children our leaders did not teach us that hope is something we actively need to engage and fight for.
Hope is like a nuclear power plant in a believer’s life.
Properly functioning, hope can power us through the most daunting of trials. If the enemy shuts down the engine of hope, then we can be destroyed with little effort. Even if we possess the physical capacity to succeed we will fail without hope. This is how critical hope is to our walk of faith. We can gain faith to move mountains but without hope our faith will be of little value.
Principles in the battle for hope
There are some basic principles we learned about the battle for hope we wish to share.
- We cannot take our hope for granted. Remember satan longs to steal our hope so we need to be active in defending against his attacks.
- Placing our hope in the created is prone to failure. Mankind is a broken stick. Our hope needs to rest on the Uncreated God and never in ‘self’.
- Just as God tests our faith so to He will test our hope. By this testing we move from placing our hope in man to placing our hope fully on God. This testing builds and strengthens hope.
- As we endure long in the faith, we must endure long in hope. Hope and patient endurance are inseparable. When we set our hope on Jesus alone, we can endure any trial knowing He is the reward. Time should never be a limit to our hope.
Today we had a call with our beloved sister in South Africa. Since we have no other contact with the outside world except for these infrequent calls, we look forward to them. On this call however we had several technical issues that prevented us from talking. After a long delay Wanda thought we had best leave the call but I was determined not to lose hope. I encouraged us to wait, hoping God would restore the connection. When our friend was finally able to reconnect we had a lovely conversation.
This event illustrated how easily satan can attack, how we must stay in faith and battle for hope. As we endure in hope God will bless our pressing in. By placing our hope in our Beloved we know that the result will always be a blessing to us.
Our hope is not in an outcome, expectation or want but rooted in our living Savior.
Winning the battle for hope
If you find yourself in a place today where satan is attacking we urge you to battle for hope. Reject hopeless, despairing and discouraging thoughts by bringing them to Jesus, laying them at His feet. Actively choose to reinforce your hope in God and pray for His help. “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23. May your hope in the Uncreated continue to flourish.
Homer and Wanda