Hope Against Hope

There have been several times in my life when I have been at the point of almost complete hopelessness. I was an empty shell, drained of exuberance, joy, faith and purpose.

I spent my days merely existing, calling upon God to give me the necessary grace to wake up, go to work, take care of my family and to do a few chores. I literally would ask the Lord to help me do the dishes or balance my checkbook. Or face our bills, which seemed never ending and always more than our income.

God always came through. He always made me able. He was always right there when I needed Him.

And when I broke down in tears, mustering enough emotion to actually feel something, He comforted me, encouraged me and spoke to my situation.

He speaks to my situation.

The way He speaks to me the most is through His word, through scripture.

The wonderful thing is that God will usually speak a word to me before I need to hang onto it for dear life. He provides me with a promise that I can grab hold of, look back on, remember and speak out loud when everything around me looks contrary to His promise. Like the time I was believing Him for my own home. This was about 20 years ago. We had been taking care of my husband’s parents, who were in advanced years and poor health. While it was a necessary arrangement, it was very difficult for a newly re-married couple with young children. I longed for my own space, one free from the constraints of sickness, nurses, constant interruptions and clashing lifestyles. The thing was I didn’t know if it was even right to ask God for such a thing. I didn’t have the faith to believe for change, for something better, for something different…until He spoke to me in the word. God spoke to me out of Zechariah 3. Even as I was reading the chapter that proceeded the verse, I had a sense of excitement, of anticipation, and I didn’t know why, until I came upon Zechariah 3:10:

“And after that,’ the Lord Almighty declares, ‘you will all live in peace and prosperity, and each of you will own a home of your own where you can invite your neighbors.’” (Living Bible)

That scripture lit up and gave me the faith I needed to believe God for our own place, and became the promise I held onto through years of difficulty. I had ample opportunity to doubt that it would ever come to pass, but God is faithful to His word. He does not lie. Not only did He bless me with a home, it turned out to be a home that I had driven past for years and admired, AND it belonged to the people who purchased my in-laws home from us. They needed to sell it so they could go forward with the deal and we were ready to buy. Is God awesome or what?!!

At other times He will speak in the heat of battle, when we are crying out for His wisdom, truth and grace. His word becomes our anchor, our beacon, our direction and instruction.

I went through an extended period of diminished health due to a surgical accident about 7 years ago. I suffered physically and emotionally and wondered if I would ever recover or be the same. Thank God for His willingness and readiness to speak. Not only did He give my husband and I the same scripture while each of us were in prayer at the beginning of that ordeal–me in my hospital room, and my husband at home–months later God spoke to me again with a different scripture while I was in deep depression, wondering if I had heard Him correctly the first time. He used Jeremiah 30:17 a:

“For I will restore you to health And I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD”

Not only did this scripture encourage me and renew my faith for healing, it drove out all the dark thoughts of doubt and death that were trying to set up house in my mind. God’s word destroys whatever the enemy is trying to establish in our lives. And I am grateful to share that God did indeed physically heal my wounds and restore my health, even after the work of my wonderful doctors could only accomplish a portion of the needed results. Our God is faithful!

 Allow Him to speak to you in His word today. If it is a word of encouragement, gratefully receive it. If He uses a scripture that gives direction, follow it. Obedience and faith go hand-in-hand. You may hear it in your private prayer & study time, in a song, in a sermon or from a friend, but whatever means He uses, receive it in faith, knowing that God is faithful to perform His word (Jeremiah 1:12, Isaiah 55:11).

I want to leave you with one of my favorite passages of scripture regarding hope in the face of hopelessness. It is out of Romans 4, referring to the time when Abraham had no physical evidence to believe that God’s promise to him regarding a child would ever come to pass, yet Abraham chose to believe:

Romans 4.18-21 photo

Blessings and renewed hope, in Jesus’ name.

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4 comments

  1. Pingback: When Promises Become Real | An Outstretched Hand
  2. Pingback: Hope Against Hope | An Outstretched Hand
  3. thiedeann · April 21

    What a wonderful testimony about God’s faithfulness! It reminds me of something Beth Moore encouraged some days back in her daily devotional Believing God Day By Day, to write down testimonies of His mighty work for your children and children’s children. Yours will be blessed by these truthful, powerful words.

    Like

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