Have you ever struggled with how to have hope in the promises of God?
We want to have hope, don’t we? We long for things to be made right and everything to turn out good in the end.
But maybe you’ve been afraid to dare to hope in the promises of God because you feel like He won’t come through for you. You may even feel like you don’t deserve to have a promise come true because you haven’t done enough or been good enough.
In the past, you may have trusted God for something, and then it just didn’t turn out the way you thought it would. Or maybe the Bible just doesn’t seem that believable, and you feel like you can’t count on every part to be true for you.
In this post, I want to encourage you by looking at 2 very familiar women – Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, her aunt. Let’s look at their stories to help us see how to have hope in the promises of God.
Mary Gets News of A Promise to Be Fulfilled
Mary was a young woman living in the city of Nazareth, probably excited about her upcoming wedding to Joseph. One day, the angel Gabriel shows up with unexpected news. Mary is going to be the fulfillment of a promise found in Isaiah 7:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
Mary’s response was one of feeling troubled. I think I would be troubled, too! You’ve just been told you’re pregnant and you’ve never been with a man?
What would people think? She could be put to death if people didn’t believe her, if they assumed she had been unfaithful to her soon-to-be husband. This was not what she was expecting!
Mary responds with the most practical answer possible.
How can this happen when I haven’t done what it takes to make it happen?”
I’m sure Mary had grown up going to the synagogue. She had probably heard the passage from Isaiah read aloud many times in her lifetime about the promised Messiah. She knew the Word.
Yet even knowing God’s promise that He would come and the way in which He would come, Mary still questioned how it could happen if she hadn’t engaged in the normal method of producing a child!
Do you have promises from God that haven’t come to pass and you feel like you need to do something to make them happen? Or maybe you expect that a promise can only be fulfilled if everything lines up the way you think it should, the way it always has in the past?
What if God’s way of keeping His word doesn’t always follow the natural way things are usually done? Would knowing this give you hope?
Elizabeth Finds a Desire to be Fulfilled
Let’s look at Elizabeth, Mary’s aunt and wife of Zechariah. Elizabeth and Zechariah were well advanced in age, and Elizabeth was barren.
No one could say Elizabeth didn’t deserve to be a mother. We’re told that she and Zechariah were righteous – they conformed their thinking and feeling and behavior to the will of God. They kept all the commandments without a fault.
In the culture of their day, to be barren was a fate wished on no one because family and legacy were vitally important. This faithful couple had prayed and prayed for a child.
Unlike Mary, Elizabeth had done what was needed to make a child happen (!), but it didn’t work. The child hadn’t come.
I’m guessing she and Zechariah had tried for years, but now she was already past the age of that desire being fulfilled and it just hadn’t happened.
But then the angel comes and gives them the good news that their prayers had been heard. What had seemed impossible was actually going to take place!
Can I just say here that God is never late in His timing? God can always do the impossible, even long after our minds and science and the world want to tell us it just can’t happen. He can make the impossible possible!
What About Us?
We probably haven’t ever had the experience of an angel showing up to give us the news that God is going to fulfill His promises to us.
Interestingly enough, the word “angel” in the Greek means “ a messenger”. Have you ever had a messenger give you a promise from God? Maybe someone actually spoke a prophetic word to you about your future. You may have heard a sermon or a speech, and found that a promise just leaped out to you that you just knew was for you personally.
And of course we have the Scriptures that are loaded with promises. I want to key in on this promise below because I believe it’s foundational to all the others:
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall NOT return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV
Let’s say this again:
When God says something, it’s not in vain or ineffectual, but rather it will surely accomplish that which He delights in and is pleased to do. It will succeed and be profitable for the reason He sent it.
Do you get this? If God gives us a promise, He will make sure it accomplishes all He desires, and it will succeed!
God is a gentleman, and He will always keep His word.
His Promises are Like No Others
Let’s go back to our two women, beginning with Mary.
As Gabriel has been telling Mary the news about her aunt Elizabeth, the “barren one” who is now expecting, he gives Mary this powerful statement. Look at it from 2 translations:
Not one promise from God is empty of power, for nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1: 37 TPT
For with God nothing is ever impossible, and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. Luke 1:37 AMP
Oh dear one! Let’s take this one to the bank! You can take any promise you’ve been given by God and declare this over your life and your future and your family and your own spirit:
Any promise that comes from God has all the power and strength and ability to be fulfilled,
even if it looks impossible at the time!
So how does Mary respond to Gabriel and his unbelievable news of the impossible about to happen within her?
Let it be to me according to your word. Luke 1: 38 ESV
May everything you have told me come to pass. Luke 1:38 TPT
Elizabeth with her declarations continues with this same idea. When Mary arrives at her home, listen to what she tells Mary:
Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord. Luke 1:45 ESV
I’ve pondered this verse many, many times. How many people do you know who would believe you if you told them an angel came and told you God had made you pregnant? Would you question what you’d heard? Would you believe God could do the impossible?
Maybe seeing her aunt Elizabeth with child encouraged Mary. The old, barren woman who actually tried to make the possible happen but couldn’t, now had the impossible (for her age) growing inside of her.
Elizabeth says Mary was truly blessed because she chose to believe that which God spoke to her would be fulfillled.
Mary responds to God’s word with song! God was going to keep His promise of a Messiah, and He would be born through her!
Making This Personal
How can we apply the stories of these women to our lives? Could we possibly choose to allow ourselves to be pregnant, too – be expectant – with the promises of God? Can we live in hope because we choose to believe that God will fulfill His every word to us? That what He promises us will be birthed in His way and His timing?
Maybe you have many promises and desires yet to be fulfilled. You may feel like Elizabeth – that your time has run out and it’s no longer even possible for a birthing of desire to happen.
Maybe you’re Mary and you haven’t even tried to birth something new. Maybe you feel like you’re not qualified to accomplish anything because you haven’t done what was needed.
Whatever your circumstances, however hard it seems to hold on, can I encourage you to make the choice to believe? This is what true hope is all about- choosing to have an expectation that God is going to bring about good. Whatever that looks like. Whenever He chooses.
And that nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible with Him.
I hope you will make the choice to believe Him. Believe everything He promises. Take Him at His word. No matter how long it takes.
Leaving it in His hands to do the impossible, we only need to believe. We can be brave learning how to have hope in the promises of God.
Waiting in hope with you,
In the comments below, please share with us your promise stories! Has the Lord given you a promise in the past that you have now seen come to pass? Or maybe you are holding on to a promise that you’d like to share with us so we can be praying and hoping with you? We’d love to hear! Thanks!
Here’s something else that might help if you’re struggling to have hope. Read about the story behind our logo – it’s all about hope!
An here’s the free printable I mentioned earlier. This is a practical way to learn what God has promised you so that you can have the confidence to hope again!
Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation® Copyright ©2017 by BroadStreet Publishing ® Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com
Scripture quotations marked ESV are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.