Written by Heather Garner Thursday, 09 February 2017 13:58
Our lives are filled with self-contradictions. We may profess to believe that a certain thing is true but then act in a totally opposite direction of disbelief when it comes to the application of that belief to our lives.
For example, we can be both confident that good can come but pessimistic that it will come for us. We can feel both encouraged that things will get better and yet discouraged about the state of our life facing the same situation. We can look at circumstances and express a real sense of hope, and moments later declare feelings of profound hopelessness about the same circumstances. According to some, a situation may provide real opportunity (for others at least, but probably not for me).
We’ve probably all observed someone who demonstrates such contradictions, but have you ever noticed yourself doing that? I fear that we do this with Jesus, and the power of God at work in our lives. We avow that “ ...all things work together for good to them that love God...” (Romans 8:28) and yet we are consumed with fear thoughts as to how we’re going to possibly survive the situation.
We avow that we believe that God is at work in us (Phil. 2:13) “...both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” and yet we sometimes act like, “Well, He does that for other people, but I have no talents that God or this church can use; nothing to contribute.”
Or consider one who says: “I believe that Jesus can forgive a person of their sins,” and then we shy away from God, the church, and sometimes from our fellow man as if we’ve committed an unforgivable sin. It’s almost as if we hold back a little parenthesis that says “Yes, But!” – “I believe God can save sinners, but I doubt if he can forgive me.”
Many believe hope is unrealistic. Ancient philosophers such as Aristotle did not think hope was a virtue, but rather a passion. Hope was something that hindered rational living by fostering unrealistic expectations. Perhaps at our low moments we all face hopelessness. Despair seems so much more realistic than hope.
General Douglas Mac- Arthur was one of the most famous graduates of West Point, and a true American Hero, yet he crossed some wires that angered some politicians and his dreams came to a screeching halt. After MacArthur was fired as commander of the armed forces in Korea, he was given an opportunity to address the United States Congress. As he spoke, he said, “I am closing my 52 years of military service. When I joined the army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished.”
What a contradiction of faith! Genuine faith keeps on believing against all hope even as Abraham did in the long ago: Romans 4:18 (KJV) 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
As God’s children, we should claim the words of Jesus for ourselves:
Mark 9:23-24 ( KJV ) ²³Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. ²⁴And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.