Curt Richter had a special relationship with rats. In 1950 he put rats in a bucket with circulating water, to see how long they could swim before they would sink. Under normal conditions, a rat could swim for an average of 15 minutes before giving up and sinking. However, if he rescued the rats just before drowning, dried them off and let them rest briefly, and then put them back into the same buckets of circulating water, the rats could swim an average of 60 hours before drowning. If a rat was temporarily saved, it would survive 240 times longer than if it was not temporarily saved. That’s the same as 24,000% longer. A little hope goes a long way. The rats that had HOPE kept swimming.
HOPE is not just important for rats.
It’s also the most important ingredient in a marriage.
That’s what Shaunti Feldhahn says in her book The Good News About Marriage.
Shaunti and her Husband Jeff interviewed thousands of couples over the course of twelve years.
They discovered one common denominator among marriages that survived versus those that failed.
Many different factors led to either outcome, of course.
But underneath it all was this bottom line: Did the couple have a sense of hope … or a sense of futility?
A lack of hope that anything could change typically marked the beginning of the end.
How are you?
How do you answer that question?
Do you think about achievements?
When I’m asked that question, I often I start telling people what I’ve been up to.
Often, that doesn’t really give a very accurate answer the question of how I am.
I have found that my hope level is one of the best indicators of how I’m really doing.
You can’t be full of hope and depressed at the same time.
However, you can be going through hard times, but still maintain a healthy level of hope.
The cool thing about hope is that it’s a great measuring tape.
It’s easy to measure your level of hope.
We all know how important faith is, but we’re so bad at measuring it, that it’s almost useless.
Unless we see fruit of course.
But even then, it’s often impossible for us to know who’s faith it was.
A great example of this is when someone gets supernaturally healed.
Was it our faith? The recipient’s faith? The atmosphere of faith? A sovereign act of God, or some kind of combination?
Most of the time we can’t know for sure.
A lack of hope makes our heart sick.
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pro 13:12
Depression is a lack of hope.
Depression is when sadness loses hope that anything will change.
Depression is when the rats stop believing that there’s anything they can do about their situation, so they give up.
And they drown.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:5
In this Psalm, David is basically saying,
“As long as you can manage to praise God right in the midst of feeling hopelessness strangling you, then you have reason to believe that you’ll make it. ‘Hope in God, soul! I’m going to break through, through worship, so don’t worry. Everything’s going to be alright.’”
Why talk about HOPE instead of FAITH?
Faith is connected to Hope.
The more we cultivate HOPE, the more our faith is strengthened.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
And the other good news is that hope is relatively easy to cultivate.
One of the best ways to cultivate hope, is by making declarations.
You might want to check out these two posts about declarations if you missed them:Exposing a subtle lie I used to believe about the power of the tongue
Things shift in the spiritual atmosphere when you step out in faith, and declare something with your mouth, even though you don’t feel like it.
When God told Ezekiel to speak to a pile of bones, I doubt he felt a lot of faith pulsating through him.
There’s a time for petitions and there’s a time to fight, and make declarations.
It’s not one or the other.
Both are important, and biblical.
May Holy Spirit guide you, and give you wisdom.
And please comment and share. That’s what Jesus would do.