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When we face uncertainty
- Jacob Ninan
Faith is not the same as hope. Many time we pray in hope that God will answer our prayers in the way we expect. But if God has not given us a specific promise concering our request, either through a direct promise in His word or an assurance in our heart (Ro.10:17), we really don't know how God will answer us. If we are honest and real about life, we have to admit that this is the case many times. After we have prayed we wait in hope, but uncertain about the outcome. What is certain for us is that our Father has heard our prayer, He is almighty, all knowing, all wise and full of love for us, and that He will answer us in the way that is really the best for us. That is our faith in our Father.
To believe that God can do anything, or that He can do what He has done for others, is faith in God's ability and power. But that in itself is not the same as believing that God will actually do what we have asked for. Has He told us He will do it, or are we just hoping that He will do it? If He has told us in our heart then we can have faith that it will happen just as He has said (Mt.8:13).
We shouldn't be confused between hope and faith. When we have an assurance in our heart that what we hope for will come true, that is faith (He.11:1). This assurance is given to us by God specifically in different situations. We know it when we have it. But this is different from us trying to make ourselves come to that assurance--by repeating words from the Bible or 'positive' words and avoiding 'negative' words. That will be like us making things happen (which we can't do; we are not gods), and not God answering our prayer through His grace.
When we have prayed in hope, and when we are uncertain about how things would turn out, that is when our faith in our Father will be our strength. "We don't know the future, but we know the One who holds the future." Just as a young child derives his confidence and strength from his father's finger which he holds on to, we too can stand firm, without wavering, knowing that our future is safe in our Father's hands. Then we would be glad if our Father answers our prayer in the way we want or the way He wants. We know He knows best, and that knowledge helps us to have the attitude, "Not my will, Father, but Yours."
Those who wait on God will not be disappointed (Is.49:23). We may be disappointed when we don't get what we asked for, but we will not be disappointed in the ultimate sense because our Father always plans for our welfare and not for calamity (Je.29:11), and He causes even the disappointing things that come to us to work for our eternal good (Ro.8:28,29).
This kind of faith in our Father helps us not to be moved by things that happen to us. People who have been taught to 'believe' that they will always get whatever they ask for get disappointed many times, and some of them even fall away from God. The fault is not with God, but an unrealistic understanding of faith that they had.