Prisoner of Hope
The phrase, “Prisoner of Hope” sounds contradictory doesn’t it? I have learned, however, that it’s a wonderfully, profound thing. Let me explain…
Have you ever been frustrated that God won’t let you quit?
I have. I’ve even yelled out to God, wishing He’d let go of me so I could just lie down quit, and never-mind this perseverance stuff. It’s human nature to feel this way sometimes because it’s simply easier to quit than to persevere through trials. It’s easier to walk the last mile of a race than continue to run, despite your side-aches and shin-splints. It’s easier to not dream than to dream, hope, and experience the fear of “What if…” It takes courage to hope, to try, to dream, to persevere. It takes a shear-fire faith to believe in an invisible God to get you through unbearable, heart-wrenching, difficult, tumultuous circumstances. It’s easier to lie down and quit. The truth of this sunk in for me when I was told my son was profoundly deaf.
It was hard to look at my son and try to teach him how to make an “f” sound even though he couldn’t hear the “f” sound being made. It took amazing piles of faith to work on that “f” sound day after day after day while not seeing any results. Whatever your story is, whether it’s surviving breast-cancer (or any type of cancer), losing a loved one, divorce, abandonment, abuse, heart-ache, despair and/or surviving devastation from a flood or fire - it takes determination to dig into the Word of God and claim victory when the world says defeat is imminent. It takes faith to believe that you can actually buy milk “without money and without cost.”
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
When I was first told that my 10-month-old son, Jacob, was profoundly deaf, I told God, “No.” I actually told God that I would not be the one dealing with this: I quit. But, as soon as I told God, “No,” I realized nobody was waiting to take my place. I couldn’t quit. God had given me an assignment, and there was no way out but through it. I did want to quit though. I was terrified, and I had no idea how to teach my son how to speak. During my thoughts of entrapment, and over many years of talking with and wishing I could quit, it hit me: When God saved me, when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I became a prisoner of hope! You see, with Christ in me, I had hope, and as long as I had hope in me, I could never be completely hopeless again.
May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I have to admit, I didn’t realize that by accepting Christ, I was relinquishing my right to ever be able to “quit” again. The world’s mentality is that we should all carry around a little bit of “victim-mentality” just in case we need it when the going gets tough. It’s the world’s twisted way of comforting defeated people and ensuring that they continue to think, “It’s not possible, so why even try, after all, I’m a victim to this situation.” Unfortunately, many of us walk around thinking this way in an attempt to protect ourselves from defeat. It’s easier to stay defeated than to hope for anything more. Well, I want to expose this elephant in the room. It’s a lie! You see, to give up one’s right to “quit” means that one has to be victorious. Do you understand that by receiving Christ in you as your Lord and Savior that you are relinquishing your power to Him? And do you realize that He is All-Powerful?!
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he provided purification of sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Do you see that if you relinquish/submit your mere human power to a supernatural power within, you will have an unlimited supply of strength to be victorious! As a result, one no longer has the casual, worldly option to quit half-way through a race, and/or a trial. This is a large dose of reality to swallow. It means you shed your victim mentality forever and replace it with the thoughts and actions of a victorious warrior!
You see, unsaved people in this world walk around with this “quit card” in their back-pocket, and they pull it out when the going gets tough. They clock-out, quit, and then rejoin the race of life when they “feel” good and ready to do so. However, when one accepts Jesus, and when they fully commit to following Him all the days of their life, they relinquish their right to casually meander along the road of life, starting, quitting, starting, quitting, and repeating this pattern as they so desire. People who have fully committed to follow Christ don’t operate on how they “feel” during a difficult situation; they rely on faith to persevere regardless of how they “feel” during battles and wars. Feeling tired mid-battle doesn’t mean one quits, it means one focuses, pushes through, and perseveres with and through the strength of Jesus Christ.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
This no-quit clause is built into the plan of salvation. Jesus is our guarantee that His plans in us will succeed!
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
He even protected us from our own loop-holes of doubt. Just in case you think that your mere decision to quit is good enough reason for Him to let you quit, He built in a protective factor. You see, Christ can’t deny Himself. When you accept Christ in you, Christ is in you! Therefore, even if you quit, Christ won’t quit on Himself within you – so you are stuck with the hope of Christ in you!
If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
Are you getting a hold of this truth? It’s great! Sure, it’s frustrating sometimes because you no longer have the quit card in your back pocket. You have to persevere through trials, you have to believe in victory, you have to continue through storms, fires, droughts, doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, dread, enemies, wars, and rain! You have to. Are you starting to understand what it means to be a prisoner of hope?
Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you… and make you like a warrior’s sword.
I want to encourage you as a fellow prisoner of hope. Sure, you have relinquished your right to quit and you are officially a prisoner of hope. But here’s the beauty of it all: You are either going to be a prisoner of this world or you will be a prisoner of Jesus Christ. The great thing about being a prisoner of Jesus Christ is that His walls are His loving arms that constantly protect you, guide you, strengthen you, and encourage you. His walls of hope are the very things that protect you from the defeat and cold-doubt of this world. If one decides to be a prisoner of this world, there is no hope there! So, if you are going to be a prisoner to something, by all means, be a prisoner of hope – there’s hope there! There’s also comfort, protection, peace, love, and grace. It’s a beautiful place – to reside within the perfectly constructed peaceful prisoner walls of hope found only in Jesus Christ.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles –
I finally understand what Paul meant! Likewise, I believe that Zechariah was talking about being a prisoner of hope because he knew that their God of hope would restore…and he too was a prisoner to the hope of God. (Zechariah 9:12-13)
Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who is promised is faithful.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
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.
Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.
Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives rescued from the fierce?
But this is what the Lord says: “Yes captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior; your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
After years and years of hoping for an easy way out of difficult circumstances and wishing I could quit, I am now thankful and honored to be a prisoner of hope. I understand now what Paul meant when he talked about being a prisoner of Jesus Christ. Sure, Paul served time in prison for his faith, but if you stop and think about your own faith for a minute: don’t you too feel as if you are a prisoner to the hope that is in you?
Find rest, O my soul, in god alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the Lord, who remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.
You are unable to quit because God refuses to quit on you – and He can’t quit on Himself within you. You have been bought with a price, and God will ensure that the preciousness of His Son will prevail through the life He gives you on this earth. Yes, you are a prisoner of hope. Praise Him that you are lovingly entrapped, entangled, enraptured, and encouraged through the hope of His Son. It’s a beautiful, profound, wonderfully mysterious thing - to be a prisoner of hope.
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.