When you get your hopes up

(A devotional from Rick Pina) Today we continue our series entitled, “Faith and Patience — The Power Twins”.  I am using Joseph as a good example of our need for patience.  We are seeking to learn from the different phases of Joseph’s life.  Each phase (paternal, pit, Potiphar, prison, and palace/Prime Minister) has significance to this series and to our lives.  There are lessons to be learned in every season.   

(James 1:2-4 TPT) 2  My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!  3  For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things.  4  And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking. 

(Gen 40:23)  23 But the wine server did not remember to help Joseph. He said nothing about him to Pharaoh. The wine server forgot about Joseph. 

(Ecc 3:1 ERV) There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time. 

Last week we set the stage for today.  We talked about Joseph and how the butler forgot about him.  I also talked about myself, (Rick Pina).   Using last week’s message as the setup for this one, let’s get into it. 

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things. 

1.  Things are not going to happen before their time. 

There is a time and a season for everything with God (Ecc 3:1).   

We may know WHAT God said.  We may have a clear picture of the “WHAT” in our hearts.  But if God did not also tell you WHEN it is going to happen, then the “WHEN” is a mystery and we must learn to trust God, and His timing, while we WAIT on God to do what He said He would do. 

Joseph had the “WHAT” right.  His breakthrough was connected to the butler and the king.  But he did not have his “WHEN” right.  The right time would not come until two years later.  It was the right thing, but the wrong time. 

In the testimony I gave you last week, I am also convinced that I clearly know “WHAT” God promised me.  The problem is, like Joseph, God has not said “WHEN” it will happen.  So, I am left to balance the expectation of my tomorrow, with the focus God requires of me in my today.  This is why we need faith and patience. 

2.  Learning to believe God for something, for years, is not a lesson everyone has learned. 

The things I am talking about are BIG things.  When God speaks something to you, although He always speaks from what I call the position of the “eternal NOW” (meaning that for God it is always NOW, because He sees things from an eternal perspective), for us, who live in time, it may not happen for days, weeks, months or even decades. 

Not everyone knows how to believe God for long durations.  Many believers are quick to give up on what God said when they don’t see the manifestation in days or a few weeks.  When they first heard from God they got excited.  They told people about it.  They wrote it down in their journal.  They mentioned it on Facebook.  But when you see the person months later and you ask them about their Facebook post, in most cases, if God did not do it in the first few weeks, they forget about it.  When you ask them about it, they look at you crazy, because they may not even remember what you are talking about.  This is sad because I am convinced that many of us are going to get to heaven, only to learn that we missed out on many of the things God wanted FOR us, and wanted to do THROUGH us, simply because we lacked the patience to WAIT on it.    

3.  WHAT and WHEN are not the same thing. 

For you to believe God for the long haul, and to remain in faith no matter how long it takes, you are going to have to learn to manage your expectations.  Knowing WHAT God said is one thing.  But knowing WHEN it is going to happen is something else.  So, it is okay to live with an expectation of manifestation.  This is how I live.  You should.  Faith is exciting.  You actually never know when God will do it.  You think you know WHAT, but you live in expectation of WHEN.  And the good part is that WHEN God actually does it, His “WHAT” is almost always greater than the “WHAT” you had in your head.  God almost always exceeds your expectations.  So please, live with an expectation that God will do what He said He would do.  Just be careful not to get your HOPES UP for a specific WHEN, if God did not say WHEN! 

4.  HOPE and FAITH are not the same things. 

Hope is ‘open-ended.’  What I mean by this is that hope is not necessarily tied to anything.  People hope for lots of things.  You can hope to be successful in life, hope to be healed of a sickness, hope to be promoted, hope to repair a relationship, and etc.; but in its most basic form, this is no more than wishful thinking.  Lots of people hope and wish for things.  The difference is that faith adds substance to our hope.  Faith is connected to something that God said/promised to you, either through prayer, through someone else, or in His Word.  When we make the connection between what we hope for and what God promised us, then we can have faith (confidence) that it’s already done in the spirit realm, and then it is only a matter of time before it manifests itself in the natural realm.  In other words, when we substantiate our hope with a Word from God (either from the Bible or spoken directly to us), it adds validity to what we are hoping for and we can cross over from hope to faith. 

When I told you last week that I (Rick Pina) pictured Joseph looking out of his cell, waiting on the cavalry to come, and then being crushed when they didn’t, it was because God never said it was the right time.  Joseph sensed that it was the right thing, and he was right because God was going to use the butler and the king to get him out of prison.  But it was not the right time.  So, if he got his HOPES UP and then got disappointed (and we honestly don’t know if this happened, this is actually just me using my imagination), it was because God never promised to do it then.  

I can say the same with my situation.  I got my HOPES UP, I opened my heart ALL THE WAY UP to God, and I removed every protection mechanism I had around my expectation.  The problem is that God never said He was going to do it THEN.  I am convinced of what God promised me.  With every fiber of my being, I believe it is going to happen.  It’s just that I “missed God” on the timing component, and every promise from God has a timing component to it.  “IT” will not happen before its time! 

What some people call faith is actually just high expectations that are based on their own desires.  Faith for something begins where the will of God is known for that thing.  For something to be faith, one’s hope has to be tied to something God promised.   

If you are clear about something God promised you, then you can have faith for it.  However, if God never said it was going to happen at a certain time, then if you get your HOPES UP about it happening on a certain day or at a certain time, then be clear, you have HOPE, but you don’t have FAITH.  Faith has to be connected to something God said! 

Many believers call things FAITH that are actually HOPE.  Just because it happened for someone else, that does mean you can “claim it” for your own life.  Or just because you add “In Jesus’ Name” to the end of a prayer, it does not mean God will do what you asked.  Faith is not about you trying to get God to put a YES on your plans.  Faith is about God trying to get you to put a YES on His plans.  Faith is not what happens when you convince God.  Faith is what happens when God convinces you.  But if God did not say it, then you are not in faith.  The best you can, in that moment, is HOPE.     

This is something you must understand in order to live by faith for the long haul.  Without this understanding, it will be difficult for you to believe God for months and years.  I pray you are learning to live by faith and to be patient while you do.  If you have faith and patience, you will SEE what God SAID, because you will hold on long enough to WAIT until the right TIME!   

Closing Prayer:  

Father, I thank You for teaching me how to live by faith for the long haul.  I am learning to believe You in earnest.  I am learning to open my heart to everything You have planned for my life.  And I am learning to wait on Your timing, no matter how long it takes, because Your timing is perfect.  I get my HOPES UP daily.  But I also add substance to my HOPE by connecting my expectations specifically to what You said and how You said it.  You reveal to me WHAT You are going to do, and I have faith for it.  But unless you tell me WHEN you are going to do it, all I can do is live my life with the expectation of it, knowing that it can happen at any time. In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

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