What would it be like to live without hope? To live in a state of helplessness, despairing that your circumstances may never improve, that the only light you see in your tunnel of darkness is a train coming towards you crushing your spirit? Unfortunately, this is the state of being for non Christians but it need not be like that for Christian people.
We all have times when we feel like this. Christians are certainly NOT immune from trouble. Jesus Himself told His disciples that they WILL have trouble but to rest assured that He has over come the world. Don’t buy into the false prosperity ‘gospel’ which teaches that Christians are meant to be always rich, happy and healthy. The scriptures DO NOT teach such heresy. Rather, the reality is that these adverse times could (and do) manifest in the form of financial hardship, relationship breakdown, death of a loved one, loss of employment, poor health, uncertain future, confusion over God’s will, betrayal or loss of friendship, difficult decision making… the list is long. Yet the list I’ve just mentioned is forever changing. These trials and tribulations do not last forever. At the time, they seem to, but our finite minds can only grasp the here and now.
At the moment, I am reading through the book of Job. That poor man endured ALL of the above and more so. Never has a person been more beaten down by life than him. He didn’t have super human powers. He was a normal human being. When he learned he had lost everything, including his 10 children, he mourned and shaved his head but then “fell down and worshiped saying ,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall
return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ And
“In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:20-22)
I certainly do not firstly worship God whenever a tragedy or trial strikes. But I have learned to worship- eventually and found the quicker I do so, the better it is for my spirit. The scriptures, in which I have immense hope in, tells me to..
“Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.Lift up your voice to God. Praise in the Spirit and with understanding and magnify the Lord.” (paraphrased from Isaiah 61:3)
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15)
Although praise and worship is no magic formula for trials and sufferings, when we do so, it puts our focus from ourselves to the Lord. Our troubles begin to be dwarfed by the awesomeness of God and the Bible promises us that our spirits WILL lift.
David is another good example for us to follow when life robs us of hope. He was no stranger to life’s trials and heartaches. His psalms show his humanity and his frailty and his question ‘Why Lord’? is peppered throughout his writings. Psalm 42 and 43 has a repeated theme with two questions and an admonition for himself. I have committed these verses to memory and I encourage you to do the same.
Life’s circumstances that try to rob us of our hope need to be viewed with a different lens. I’ve realised that too many times I’ve fallen prey to my feelings, which, like my adverse circumstances, are ever changing. We cannot be ruled by our emotions. Like Job and David, our hope needs to rest in God alone, the One who is UNchanging, completely trustworthy and who alone is wise, all powerful and sovereign over ALL.
The scriptures are clear- Hope in GOD!
Romans 15:4 says that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.”
Psalm 119:114 says “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your Word.”
I hear many Christians say that the Lord hasn’t or doesn’t speak to them. My question in response is always- ‘Have you read your bible lately?’ and normally their response is ‘No’, going on to cite numerous reasons (excuses) for not reading their Bibles. The scriptures are the MAIN way the Lord speaks to His people today. He long to spend time with you. You will never be disappointed when you do. The Word a treasure trove of heavenly riches for navigating this life with all it’s twists and turns. The Lord says that “heaven and earth pass away but my Word remains.”
The Bible also says placing our hope in God “will never disappoint because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:5) I am no stranger to troubles. As I write this blog, there a number of worrying issues I am facing. Some days, I just want stay in bed and waste the day by reading a novel. Some days, I throw my disciplined life to the wind and eat like a piggie and refuse to exercise. I would be lying if I said my feelings have never gotten the best of me. But I need to rest my hope in God. He has never let me down and never will. My God is the one whom I serve because I love Him. He never changes and for that He is trustworthy. This life we live is but for a short time. The Bible says our lives are but vapour or a flower of the field; here one day, gone the next. Jesus reminded His disciples not to worry because nothing can be gained if you do.
So take heart, those who are feeling helpless in their situation. Hope in God and praise Him- the help of your countenance and YOUR God! xx