Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

As I was writing Parts 1-3 of this series, two personal examples in my life came to me that I would like to share with you to demonstrate how Hope and Faith work together.

The first one is about a relationship.  I had been dating a gentleman for approximately two years, and it got to the point where I knew he was not wanting to go any further in his Christianity.  He was a Christian but he was satisfied with where he was in his walk with God.  When I say satisfied, I mean complacent.  One Saturday evening I invited him to go to the church I was going to at the time, and I asked him to meet me there Sunday morning.  He agreed.  He arrived and we went in to the church where praise and worship had started.  During praise and worship, I did what I had always done (since the day I got born again!) I raised my hands and started praising and worshipping God with all of my heart.   The next song was a little more upbeat so I started jumping up and down a little, all the while, my hands still up towards heaven.  He was standing there like a bump on a log, lifeless!  I mean I thought he needed CPR or something! After the service we went and had lunch and he said, "uuuuhhmm, I don't think we are looking for the same thing in a church, I don't think it's necessary for all those people to be so excited and raising their hands and clapping and dancing, I thought it was weird."  My response was, "Well I think you are weird!  Jesus Christ pulled you out of the pit of hell and you just stand there like a bump on log!  You have the issue not me!"  We left the conversation there and moved on to a more "comfortable, less conflicting" topic.  The next Sunday, I went to church and invited him to come again and he said "I think I will pass, but let's go to the park after you finish".  That Sunday the minister taught on fulfilling the will of God for your life and surrounding yourself with people who will aid you in doing that.  As he ministered, I sat there with tears streaming down my face (not happy tears) because I knew I was going to have to let this relationship go.  Even though this gentleman I was dating wasn't that interested in more of God, my natural thoughts were, but I have invested 2 years of my life in this relationship, and he really is a good guy,  and I really do care about him, and maybe somehow I could get him to want more of God, but at that moment I knew I had to let him go. It absolutely was not what I wanted to do naturally.  At the end of the service, the Pastor invited people up who wanted prayer.  I was so distraught it seemed I would have to crawl to the altar.  When I arrived, two ladies greeted me, I was crying so hard all I could say is, "His Will, not my will."  Those ladies, oh my, I will never forget their faces, hugged me, took my hands and said God's will for what sweetheart?  I said, "For the man I can serve God with, one who is after God's heart and chasing after God."  Those ladies prayed, "Father, you heard her, and we agree with her according to Matthew 18:19, she wants your will, not her own, and we thank you for the right husband for her, the man who is after your heart and pursuing you, in Jesus Name."  I left church knowing the dreaded phone call I was about to make.  I called and broke off the relationship.  I am telling you, it's one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make.  We hung up and naturally I did not "feel" any better!  Thoughts started running through my head and I was questioning did I make the right decision, will I ever find the one I can serve God with?  All of the sudden I sensed the divine comforter, my helper, the wonderful Holy Spirit coming to my aid, helping me, strengthening me and I said, "Father, if it is just me and you forever, I am ok with that, your love is more than enough for me."  In that statement, right there, biblical hope had sprung up.  I believed positively about my future, and that even if it was just me and God for the rest of my future, that it was still going to be awesome!! When I said that, I truly astonished myself because I meant it from my heart, and I knew I would rather it just be me and God, and me fulfilling His plan for my life, than having to drag some man uphill all of my life, trying to get him to hunger after God!  That would be a terrible life! No man is worth sacrificing your relationship with God!  For the first time in my life, God had my WHOLE HEART.  Remember, God told Abraham to leave his family, the thing that would hinder him, God wanted Abraham's WHOLE HEART and his UNDIVIDED ATTENTION.  Sometimes, in the moment, the decision seems unfair naturally, the action of faith seems tough, but the sacrifice on our part is never greater than the blessing we receive from God for our obedience!

A few days later I was talking to one of my girlfriends on the phone and she was still astonished I had broken off the relationship because she definitely thought this was the guy I was going to marry!  And from deep down inside, from my spirit, oh my goodness, Faith rose up, and I said "you know what Ruth, if I thought that guy was good, you just wait, you haven't seen anything until you see the man God has planned for me.  He will be all that I have ever wanted and more."  That was my faith speaking.  I didn't realize it at the time because I had no teaching on what faith does, but that was faith speaking out, and I truly believed that the gentleman I broke up with was now nothing compared to the man God had planned for me.  My heart was so filled with thanksgiving and praise to God because I KNEW wholeheartedly that He had so much better for me.  I knew it on the inside even though there was no evidence of a man yet!  After making that statement to my friend, I truly had no care or concern about that matter any longer because I trusted that it was taken care of.  Listen, Jesus told us to take NO THOUGHT for our life, being concerned about finding a husband is taking thought for our own life.  Cast the whole of the care and burden over to your Father now and refuse to pick that care back up.  Your Heavenly Father knows you, cares for you and has the perfect husband for you.  Believe that and then rest in that!

About three weeks later, I met my now husband.  Notice, there was a time frame, I didn't meet my husband the exact day I believed God for my husband.  The evening I met him, there was no wondering, no guessing, no maybe, it was "Oh my goodness, this is the man God has planned for me."  I knew it, and not only did I know it, he knew it!  That made it easy, we never had to have the "so where do you see this going" talk because we both knew by the Holy Spirit where this was going from the day we met.  We were inseparable for a year, and married within a year.  

I don't care how hopeless something in your life looks, make room for God, allow him to minister hope to you through the scriptures, and then build your faith in those scriptures, all the while giving Glory to God for what He has given you.

-Ashley Robbins

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