I used to be one of the most negative people I knew. My motto was, "If I don't expect anything good to happen, then I won't be disappointed when it doesn't."
However, God's way of seeing things is just the opposite! He wants us to live our lives filled with hope, expecting Him to do something great at any moment.
What is hope? One definition of " hope" is "a favorable and confident expectation."
It's a positive attitude and the happy anticipation that something good is going to happen.
Real hope is not a wishy-washy, vague "let's just wait and see what happens" attitude, but it's believing and trusting that what God promised, He will do. God is just looking for opportunities to be good to His children and He wants us to expect and look forward to it.
The Bible says that hope is the anchor of our soul (see Heb. 6:19). When things look dark and we don't have an answer, that's when hope kicks in to remind us that our new beginning is right around the corner.
For instance, when it looks like everybody else is getting blessed and we're tired and feel like giving up, it's hope that steadies our heart and helps us hold on to our faith in God's promise.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, hope is described as a helmet. So, what we think must be pretty important. Our attitude and what we're expecting has everything to do with what we're thinking and saying!
I encourage you to take control of your thoughts and words first thing every morning. When you wake up in the morning, don't settle for thoughts like, Well, I guess I'll try to make it through another day.
Instead, anticipate good things from God. Think and declare things like:
"God, thank You for this day! I know that You love me and You have a good plan for me today. Apart from You, I can do nothing, but in Christ, I can do whatever I need to do. And with Your help, I am going to have a good attitude and positive thoughts."
Then expect your breakthrough and new beginning. Say, "Today could be the day!"
It's important to realize that we can't live by how we feel if we want to have a positive, hope-filled life. When negative feelings come, if we don't give in to them and feed them, they will die.
So, don't allow yourself to get caught in the trap of waiting to feel hopeful, but instead, decide to be full of hope. When you make a conscious decision to think positive, faith-filled thoughts throughout the day, your feelings will eventually catch up with your decision.
God's Just Waiting to Amaze You
Several years ago, I asked the Lord, "Why don't I have exciting, special things happen in my life anymore?"
God spoke to my heart and said, "Joyce, I still do those things all the time. You have just gotten used to it."
You see, God wants us to live amazed by His goodness in our lives...to actively take notice of the truly wonderful things He does for us. Why? Because when we live amazed, we will never be without hope! Let's look at the story of Abraham.
God had blessed Abraham abundantly. However, there was one thing that he and his wife, Sarah, didn't have—a child. Abraham said, "'Lord God, what reward will You give me, since I am [leaving this world] childless...?'
"And the Lord brought Abram outside [his tent into the night] and said, 'Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you are able to count them. Then He said to him, 'So [numerous] shall your descendants be'" (Genesis 15:2, 5 AMP).
Although Abraham's circumstances looked hopeless, the Lord brought him out of his tent to amaze him and remind him that He can do the impossible.
I believe we can spend too much time "in our tent," looking at our own problems. That's why the Bible says to look away from all that will distract unto Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith (see Heb. 12:2).
Every time we decide to pray, read God's Word or simply dwell on the great things He has done for us in the past, it produces hope. And, like Abraham, we soon begin thinking, Wow, maybe He can do this for me!
When times are tough and you feel discouraged, it's time to step outside the tent and see what God has to say. When you do, you'll find that He is just waiting to amaze you.