Hope deferred makes the heart sick (see Proverbs 13:12); therefore, there are a number of people who find themselves spiritually sick. They have lost hope because they have failed to believe God. When you remove hope, you vacate faith, and when you take faith out of the equation, you lose the ability to hope. Unwittingly, many defer their hope by working against it and faith. They have hardened their hearts through unbelief. They fail to remember what He has done for them, and have let go of the promises He made to them as if He is unfaithful or incapable. In some cases, they believe their “unworthiness” is greater than God’s sovereignty and righteousness.
Through out Scripture, we are exhorted to remember God’s Word and what He has done. Not only are we to remember what He has done in a general sense, but also what God has done for us specifically. As soon as you forget what God has done, your heart will begin to harden. In turn, you will be incapable of seeing what He is doing in your midst, even when it is plain as day.
One of the reasons people forget what God has done is that the circumstances they face are greater than God in theirs eyes. The moment you magnify a problem you begin to forget the sovereignty of God. We have seen examples throughout the Bible. One is the children of Israel in the wilderness, who forgot what He did in Egypt as soon as they faced hardship. Even though God parted the waters of the Red Sea, which revealed He rules the water and is capable if giving them water in the desert, they did not trust Him to give them some to drink. They failed to see God as the faithful Father He is, and murmured against Him. Another example is the disciples of Jesus, who hardened their hearts right after seeing Jesus feed the five thousand (see Mark 6:45-52). Why do we forget what He has done the moment we face challenges? Should we not be able to stare challenges down because we know God is our Help in the times of trouble? Part of growing up in the Lord is learning to stay in the Spirit while facing difficulties. We learn to submit to the Holy Spirit and stop allowing our flesh to move us by what we see in the natural. As long as a person focuses on the mountain, the mountain will stay planted where it is. It will be rooted in unbelief. However, if he puts his trust in God he will be able to say unto the mountain, “be thou removed” and it will be (see Matthew 17:20; 21:21-22; Mark 11:22-24).
Another way to work against faith and hope is by putting God on trial. Without realizing it, some people judge God. There is a number of those who are skeptical of His goodness at best. The unfortunate thing is that their scales are slanted by unjust weights. They have already decided the verdict and use circumstances against God. In fact, to prove their hypothesis they themselves will create negative circumstances, and then blame God for them. Much of their judgment stems from hurts from their past. Those who were supposed to love them have wounded them. The ones, who should be the most trust worthy in their life, broke their trust. In some cases, it was broken repeatedly and in severe ways. Their thought is: if I cannot trust those whom I can see, how can I trust the One I cannot see? Some simply blame God for having a hard life. Whatever the case may be they question God. They need a revelation of His love and goodness. Many still need to forgive those who hurt them and even God Himself. Unforgiveness also works against faith and hope. It leads to bitterness, which in turn strangles hope and rejects faith.
Perhaps an approach to take during difficult times is found in Psalm 77:1-13. I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and He gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will He be favourable no more? Is His mercy clean gone for ever? doth His promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath He in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God (KJV)? We acknowledge our struggles to the Lord, and then call to remembrance the great things He has already done in our lives. We decide to believe and hang on to the hope that is in Him.