Do you know that God has high hopes and expectations for us? He does. Otherwise, He would not have invested the life of His only Son to see us redeemed and brought back to wholeness.
God is full of hope where we’re concerned! In fact, He believes in us more than we believe in ourselves.
God believes in us to the point that He’s not at all concerned about what talents or abilities we might be lacking or missing—He has given us everything we need to succeed.
However, I believe many Christians walk around feeling like God is disappointed with them. I used to feel this way until one day He said:
“You know, Joyce, you’re really no shock to Me. I knew what I was getting when I got you.”
Think about it! God knows the end from the beginning, and all the days of our lives are written in His book. Every decision we’re ever going to make—good or bad—God already knew them before we ever showed up on planet earth.
He already knows today every word in our mouth that is still unuttered—even what we’re going to say a year from now!
Sometimes we can go around thinking that God is so disappointed with us all the time. It’s true that we make mistakes. And we’re not supposed to be lighthearted about them—we are to take them seriously.
But in spite of our mistakes, God has hope for us and knows that He can change us if we’ll stay in His Word.
I Had a Lot of Opportunities to Give Up...
I like to think back at all the different things that my husband Dave and I have gone through over the years...remembering how God worked through us to build what is now a worldwide ministry.
In the process of it, there were a lot of things behind the scenes that had to change, such as working on our marriage. I needed to work on my attitude, and we had to work on how we handled our money—the same things most people deal with in life.
Because of all the things that needed to be worked on, I probably wanted to quit a million times!
Most of you know that I was sexually abused growing up and had a wretchedly miserable life, growing up around alcoholism, violence, and almost every kind of dysfunction.
I had a lot to overcome. It was hard, and maybe some of you understand because you went through some of the same things. It’s hard to make it through those experiences.
You have to be determined, hang on to hope, and be willing to go through things. It can be lonely and devastating—and it’s just really difficult not to quit and give up.
I remember one night lying on my office floor, holding on to the legs of the furniture, wanting so badly to run away from God. I was screaming to God saying:
“God, I just can’t do this. It’s too hard!” But I kept holding on saying, “God, help me not to run away! Help me! Help me! Help me!”
But I’ve found that if we just won’t quit and won’t give up, we will have success.
There’s a part that only we can do...and that is keeping an attitude that allows God to work in our lives.
God doesn’t work through a negative attitude or self-pity or an “everybody owes me” attitude. Nor does He work through laziness or passivity. God can only work where there’s faith, but we need to have hope before we can even have faith.
Hope is really just a positive attitude. It’s an expectant outlook that something good is going to happen in our lives.
God wants us to be “prisoners of hope.” In other words, He wants us to be so locked up in hope that we believe He can change whatever needs to be changed and we can do whatever needs to be done.
Wherever you are right now—and whatever dreams and visions God has placed in your heart—I encourage you to never, ever give up. God believes in you, and He has equipped you to fulfill His good plan for your life, despite the challenges you may be facing.
The truth is, you and I can fulfill God’s vision when we live with expectant hope. We can watch the Lord do the impossible in our lives...and use us to reach a world in need.