Hope is faith looking forward
March 1, 2010
by Pastor Orval Wirkkala, Apostolic Lutheran Church, Kingston

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith means to trust God, to trust Him for our future. We are trusting our life in the hands of God, for the future that He has in store for us.

Hope, we think of as our desire, something we would like to see happen. But in biblical language, hope refers to the future promises of God, which have not yet taken place, but will most certainly happen. Our hope is like the anchor of the soul, for we believe God for our future. It is a hope which is full of expectation.

Hope is the certainty of the future promises of God. Hope is faith looking forward.

Do we believe that Abraham Lincoln was our president during the Civil War? Yes, we do, for we believe those things that have already taken place, and we have no doubts that those events happened. In this sense, we tend to think about faith in the sense of looking backward, and hope as looking to the future. Even though faith and hope may be distinguished from each other, yet they are very closely related. Faith is what gives substance to our hope.

How do we know that the future promises of God will come to pass? Because we trust God. It is because of the faithfulness of God that we have assurance for the future. Because we have faith, there is hope. Without faith, there is no hope.

People have hope today, but not all are putting their hope in God, which means they have a hope that is not biblical and it is a hope that will leave them disappointed. When we succumb to unbelief, it causes us to fear the future, by making assumptions about the future.

Here are two examples of our forefathers who looked to the future. One struggled with trusting God, and the other exhibited his trust in God.

David thought he knew the future, but did he? He knew that Samuel had anointed him to be king of Israel, but fear caused him to lose sight of God’s promise. “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.” 1 Samuel 27:1

Apostle Paul looked to the faithfulness of the One in whom he placed his trust. “For which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12

Is tomorrow seen by us? No, we are finite humans and cannot see tomorrow. We don’t know about tomorrow, but we know that He holds the future. Many things about tomorrow, we don’t understand, but we know who holds our hand.

Recently, when I asked a brother as to how I could pray for him, this is what he said: “Pray that I would trust in God who is unseen and that I would not fear the seen circumstances!”

May that be our prayer for one another today – bound together by faith in Christ and hope in God for the future.