The very definition of faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrew 11:1). But how do we apply that to situations that leave us hope-less? So often I see the struggle of the unequally yoked spouse as a battle to simply hang on to our own faith. In the midst of the adversity the mismatched marriage naturally brings, we find ourselves praying, hoping for our spouse’s salvation. Day after day we petition God. Months or even years pass with no visible change. How do we continue? How do we keep fighting and not give up?
I sit in a unique situation. God has told me the time frame of my husband’s impending salvation. Using scripture, He revealed a glimpse of his seven-year plan to me during a fast and has affirmed it again recently. I know my prayers serve a purpose and will help accomplish what I hope for most—my husband’s salvation. But had I not received this incredible gift, would I still be able to continue praying for what seems an impossibility even in the midst of what I know is to come? Would I have given up by now?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but my heart aches for anyone struggling with this question: How do I go on? Because even knowing what I know, there are days that I wonder if I’ll even make it to the end. (Can you tell I’m a mother of two teens?)
For days this has been my question to God—how do we continue to hope? I searched my concordance and found one scripture that seems to shed the tiniest of lights on this dimly lit search.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
The key seems to be in the third line—those who hope in the Lord. Could it be that we place our hope in the transformation we so desperately desire in our spouses and not in the author of our faith, Jesus? Are we looking in the wrong direction?
When we keep our eyes on our situation and our unbelieving spouses, how can we possibly continue to hope? The burden of our unfulfilled desire becomes the object of our attention and saps the very strength we need to go on. The burden is too heavy for us to carry alone.
If those who hope in the Lord will be strengthened, then by keeping our hope firmly placed in God (the only one who has the power to bring our loved ones to belief) can we persevere and continue, even when things appear hopeless.
With God we can soar above the murky waters of hopelessness. With God we can rise above our own limited ability and trust completely in a God bigger and stronger than anything we are dealing with, even the most stubborn of spouses. With God we can have wild hope—the kind that perseveres even when someone asks you, “How can you be so sure?”
I know my God. I believe my God. I hope in my God. He can do anything. I believe this completely, so therefore, I hope.
I pray this for all of us, for Jesus to not only be the author of our faith but the source of an unending hope planted deep within us and overflowing to God’s glory. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Praying and Believing,