Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
-- Hebrews 11:1
Yes, I know I've used this scripture already in my blog. You'll just have to accept that I'm going to use and reuse a lot of the same scriptures because they are really important, key scriptures when it comes to discussing faith.
If faith is the substance of things hoped for, what, then is hope? I turned to Miriam Webster to see what the dictionary definition of the word "hope" is, and this is what I found:
1 : to cherish a desire with anticipation
2 archaic : trust
1 : to desire with expectation of obtainment
2 : to expect with confidence : trust
So, we see that hope involves anticipation and trust in the desired outcome. It isn't the wishy-washy term that it seems to have degenerated to in our common street language. Apparently, hope used to actually mean something!
When you hoped, you desired with expectation of obtainment. It wasn't a "maybe it will, maybe it won't" situation. It was an expectation that had confidence and trust attached to it. Or as Creflo Dollar would say, you "have your neck out" for something.
The definition for hope against hope is to "hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment". I would revise this to say without any natural basis for expecting fulfillment. But, we don't operate in the natural with faith and hope, we operate in the supernatural. In that realm, our hope and our faith are the mediums of exchange.
So, is it possible to have faith and not see the manifestation of your desire? You bet!
Take a look at Acts 14:8-10. In this passage, a man who has been crippled since birth has been sitting daily at gates to the city. It is likely that Jesus himself passed by this man many times throughout his ministry. Yet, the man never received his healing. That is, until one day when Paul came along.
In verse 9 we are told that Paul "...stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet." Instantly, the man jumped up to his feet and walked.
But, read that again "perceiving that he had faith to be healed." So, he already had faith to be healed, Paul just recognized it and called on the man to act on his faith.
So, it's entirely possible to have faith, not draw upon the anointing and not receive!
Now, let's look at the reverse situation. Take a look at Mark 5:25-34. This is the story of the woman with the issue of blood. She suffered with her condition for 12 years, going from one doctor to another, and still wasn't cured -- in fact, she was worse!
Notice, Jesus didn't do anything here. He was simply the vessel for the anointing. He didn't lay hands on her. He didn't pray over her. He didn't heal her. But he knew instantly that the power, the anointing, had left him and that someone had been healed.
When the woman had told him her story, he simply said: "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague."
Her expectation placed a demand on the anointing.
Think of it this way. The anointing is like electricity. Your house is wired for electricity. You have lights installed. You have an active account with the electric company. But, if you never flip the switch, you'll remain in darkness.
Faith works just like that. Just like you have to place a demand on electricity -- you have to flip the faith switch on in order to receive.
Ask yourself today "What am I expecting?" Have you placed a demand on the anointing?
Many thanks to Pastor Tony Sparks who taught a magnificent lesson on this subject last Wednesday.