“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!” (Hebrews 10:35, NLT)
During a casual conversation, a businessman once asked me what kind of books I wrote. Though I described the topics of several books, the one that caught his attention was about character transformation. “What’s that?” he asked.
While organizational change is a common topic for businessmen, character transformation wasn’t a quantifiable concept for him, so I explained. “It is the ability to get up in the morning, look in the mirror and like the person you are becoming.”
He thought for a moment, looked at me and said, “I would like to get that book.”
Sometimes we stop believing that our lives can change and that the world can change. One of the most important characteristics of people who achieve the extraordinary is that they live a life of expectation. They expect the good to happen; they internalize optimism.
The book of Hebrews gives us snapshots of individuals who led lives of faith and expectancy. We are called to emulate these men and women who kept leaning confidently into their future amidst the challenges and life-changes that came with obeying God.
We are given this preface to their epic tales:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what was seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11: 1-3)
At the heart of their faith, these men and women could see the invisible. At the core, those ancients who walked with God could see that to which most of us remain blind.
“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” A life of expectation is the result of living in the dynamic tension that exists between faith and hope. It isn’t so much about having a big idea or how much belief you can muster. It’s the conviction about things unseen. It’s having a foundation of joyful anticipation in every aspect of life.
Sometimes God does so much in our lives that when He wants to work in a new way we resist because we have become too attached to all He has brought to us. The things God has blessed us with can become an anchor that keeps us grounded ashore rather than launching us out into His dream for us. We must remember that the unknown with God is always better than the known without Him.
Faith was never meant to be primarily a noun. It is a verb that denotes action. Faith is about conviction, while hope is about confidence. A life of faith is a life of expectation. It is not so much about what you expect out of life, but what you put into it. Faith grounds us in the certainty of God’s faithfulness. Hope pulls us into the mystery of God’s future in such a way that, no matter how bad things get, when you are pursuing the life God created you to live and the future He calls you to create, you are confident that nothing and no one can stop you. The former is about feeling entitled; the later about living fully engaged. If nothing can stop God, then who can stop you when you are pursuing Him and living for His purpose?
There are some of you who will stand out as extraordinary examples of the power of God to prevail in any crisis. Your lives will be unexplainable. You will conquer kingdoms and administer justice. You will live out promises from God that give us all hope. You will shut the mouths of lions and survive moments where you should have been dead, but you’re not. You will quench the fury of the flames and escape the edge of the sword, and your story will declare that God took your weakness and turned it into strength. You will become powerful in battle and rout armies and thwart death over and over again. Miracles will mark your life that others will find unbelievable, because you expected God to do great things.
This Week What do you expect to become? Do you expect your life, your future, to be different because you are a person of faith? Do you expect the world to be different because of your life? Where does your faith and your expectation stop?
Prayer “Jesus, You came so that I could squeeze all of the joy, beauty, value and importance out of every breath and every moment of my existence. I won’t shrink back but will lean forward and move into a life of expectation. Help me to live every moment of every day in joyful anticipation of your faithfulness to me.”