Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where is your hope placed?

Are you without hope? Is all your hope gone? Do you feel as though there is no light at the end of the tunnel?

These are treacherous and desperate times accompanied by despair in the lives of so many. And, I can’t help but look around me, and everywhere I turn I see someone who has lost their hope. Or, I hear someone who is very close to throwing in towel say, “Why bother, it’s a hopeless situation? I give up.” From financial woes, to more Middle East crises which call our loved ones away from home, to rising fuel costs, to a society stricken with sin and no sign of turning away from it…..and the list goes on. Do you find yourself asking God “What is going on?” Or saying, God, there’s got to be more than this…there’s got to be an answer. God…I can’t go on like this…I can’t take it anymore. I’ve heard the heart cries of many women who feel exactly like this. They are so close to breaking down while some already have. What are we to do?

First let’s look at the meaning of hope.

Hope in the world’s understanding of the word is something wished for, a yearning, a desire, a craving.

Bible’s definition of hope is - expect, trust, anticipate, look forward to.

Do you see the difference between the two? The world’s view is for something wished for…the Bible’s definition is to expect, trust, anticipate, look forward to.

I think many times we look for our answers, our hope in all the wrong places. Or we have a view of entitlement. We have this yearning or desire that this situation we are in should go away. I’m entitled to a better life, more money, a new job. But do we look and truly seek God’s wisdom for our answers. When things don’t happen fast enough or the way we would like them to, we’ll take matters into our own hands and “hope” that things will work out the way we want them to. Have you ever done that? Are you still doing that?

How long does it take before you truly surrender your situation over to the Savior? And when you do, are you doing it with the assurance, the expectation and anticipation of knowing that He will handle this situation? Are you looking forward to what He is going to do?

Jesus sends us the storms for many reasons, to protect us, to perfect us, to humble us, to wake us up, sometimes to show us who’s really in charge of our lives. But in the end the question is where is your hope? Is your hope in the things of this world? Or is your hope in the One who says to you, I’m here, trust Me, and be assured that I have everything under control.

Surrender….not an easy thing to do. I would suggest the only way one can get to that place of total surrender to the Lord and to completely trusting Him, is to know without any doubts, that He loves you. Do you? Do you know for sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves you? If you can’t answer “yes” to that question then I want to encourage you to pray and seek God. Tell Him that you don’t believe He loves you. Tell Him why you think that. Be honest and open with Him and allow the work of the Holy Spirit to minister to you and assure you of God’s love for you. Many people, particularly when they are in a season of sin feel as though God doesn’t love them. They feel unworthy knowing that what they are doing is displeasing to the Father. Others feel that they just can’t measure up to God’s standard so He doesn’t love them. Or, they’ll say I know God doesn’t love me because look at my life, look what’s happening, isn’t this proof that God thinks I’m no good, that I deserve all this mess? Or, I never hear from God so I guess He doesn’t love me. But if you are a child of God, then know without any doubting that God loves you. The bible tells us so. And I know that God’s Word is true. So regardless of how you feel, base your life on fact, the fact that God does love you. And when you do, that place of surrender will not only become more easily accessible, but it will be a place that you will run to and return to time and time again. It will be a place of contentment, a place of rest. Why? Because your hope will be in the Lord and you won’t have to worry about what to do next knowing He’ll handle it. You’ll be free from fears, despair, turmoil, frustration, anxiety, and hopelessness.

Let me ask you one more time - Where is your hope? Is it in the things of this world? Or is it in the One who extends the invitation to those whom He loves, as stated in Hebrews 4:16 -“Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

I pray that at this moment you will make your mind up to accept that invitation and go boldly to throne of grace and place all your hope and trust in the One who wants to help you and give you a hope, a hope that will last, a hope eternal.

In Christ’s love,