There have been a few times in my life when I’ve been desperate for hope. When I was in my early twenties, my mom was in ICU at the M.D. Anderson cancer center. I remember we were living in that holding room for families. Each family in there lived day to day desperate for good news. Some families got it, but most of us didn’t. We were tired, exhausted, mentally drained, and were looking for a ray of hope that might mean our loved one would walk out of there.
To be without hope is a dangerous place, yet so many of us live there. Our lives seem to have no future, and we just want something we can believe in to brighten up the darkness a little. The writer of Lamentations was there too. He was in a desperate place having lost everything. As he recounted his trouble in chapter three, he then wrote in 3:21-22, “Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue” (GNT). His hope returned when he took his eyes off his situation and focused on God.
I love what he goes on to write in verses 25-26. He says, “The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—.” God sees us in our hopeless darkness. Looking back, He used hopeless times to shape me and to polish me. Trusting God when you can’t see a future is hard, but be patient. The Lord is good and is working things out for your good. Hope will return because God has not forgotten you.
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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
After the Israelites left Mount Sinai and were headed to the Promised Land, they grew tired of the Lord’s provision of mana. They began to complain about it to each other and then openly. They wanted meat. They began to fantasize about the meat they had in Egypt while they were slaves. The Lord told moses that He was going to provide meat for all of Israel, not for a day or two, but for an entire month. He said He would provide so much meat that they would get sick of it. God was upset that they were rejecting Him and longing to go back to their old life.
After the Lord spoke this to Moses, he struggled to believe God could provide that much meat. He reminded God how many people they had, how little meat their food resources were and where they were. I love God’s response in Numbers 11:23. He said, “So, do you think I can’t take care of you? You’ll see soon enough whether what I say happens for you or not” (MSG). The next morning so many quail descended on the Israelites that no person took home less than 50 bushels of meat. God went above and beyond what Moses could comprehend.
The question to us is: Are we looking at our problem, with our resources, in our situation wondering how God is going to come through? Sometimes God uses what we have, but don’t limit Him in what He can do. Don’t you think He can take care of you? Remember, Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (AMP). God can multiply what you have or supply your need out of His supply. Trust God to meet your need. He can take care of you. Just believe.
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Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
I’m not sure why I am constantly surprised by the goodness of God. There are times where I am just caught off guard at His faithfulness. I look at my life and I see all of my short comings and wonder why God would choose to bless me and to pour out His love on me. I know that I am unworthy of any gift that He gives, yet He still opens up the windows of Heaven and pours them out.
I think that’s one of the areas where it is hard to understand God because our minds try to rationalize Him as a human with human behaviors. We know the we are spiteful and hold grudges and we expect Him to. When He doesn’t, it blows our mind. I love how the psalmist put it in Psalm 36:5 when he said that His unfailing love is as vast as the heavens and His faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. It is so deep and so wide that we can’t begin to understand it.
I always want to rationalize it and understand it rather than to accept it and abide in it. I want to break it down and figure it out instead of just trusting in it. I think David understood it. He knew of the power that God has to forgive and forget. He relied on it and knew he was in trouble without it. You wonder how can an adulterer and murderer like David be a man after God’s own heart? Well it’s because he understood God’s ability to forgive and to forget.
It’s beyond me how God does it. I try to be a man after God’s heart and I fall short. I try to be like Him and I find I’m more like myself. I try to do what He asks and I end up doing what I want. I start off working hard to please Him, but in the end, I do what pleases me. That’s where God’s faithfulness kicks in. 2 Timothy 2:13 says in the Amplified version that even if we are unfaithful and untrue to Him, He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.
How is that possible? How can God remain faithful and true to us when all we seem to do is our own thing rather than His? It’s who God is. He is a God who loves us more than our doubts, our mistakes, our short comings and our fears. He is patient and kind. His love knows no end and is not conditional. He is not human and is not limited like we are. Once we remove those human characteristics of who we think He is and accept His divine nature, we can begin to get a glimpse of who He really is.
There were several in the Bible like David and Paul who got a glimpse of that. I don’t think it is reserved just for them though. God wants to open Himself up to you and me to give us a glimpse of who He is. We fight and push back because we think we are unworthy, but it’s when we finally realize how unworthy we really are that He has us right where He wants us so He can show His faithfulness and love. Don’t push back away from it. Swim in that river of his love that is as high as the clouds and is as vast as the heavens. Accept that you aren’t worthy and trust in His love for you anyway.
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This life can get to be repetitive, and to be honest, so can our Christian life. It’s easy to settle into a groove and put ourselves on autopilot. We can then fall into danger by allowing our faith the be about rituals more than relationship. Even the disciples were susceptible to this, and they physically walked with Jesus daily. Can you imagine what that must have been like? They heard the greatest teaching daily and were witnesses to countless miracles, yet they were susceptible to letting even that become old hat and ordinary. That’s when someone came up to Jesus and told Him Lazarus was gravely ill and needed healing immediately.
When Jesus didn’t immediately go, I’m sure the disciples started to get shook out of their routine. They thought it was odd that He didn’t immediately go. Instead, He waited two days before beginning the 2 day journey to Him. The disciples objected to Jesus going there because the religious leaders were ready to kill Him. Then, in John 11:14-15 Jesus said, “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him” (MSG).
Jesus knew the disciples needed new grounds for believing. If they needed it, how much more do we? I believe when there are things in our lives that don’t make sense to us, it could be God trying to give us new grounds for believing. Notice how urgently we start seeking Him when things happen out of the ordinary. Notice how much more we rely on Him. I believe God allows things to happen to us so we will break out of our rut and find fresh faith. Relationships on autopilot usually struggle. It’s the ones that keep things fresh and new that survive. God wants to have a fresh relationship with us. Don’t let whatever is going on in your life push you away from God. Let it give you fresh grounds for believing.
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One of the things I enjoy doing in my spare time is fishing. There’s something therapeutic about sitting on a boat and casting a line. Many times fish are under brush near shore. After we get the boat close enough, we drop an anchor in the water. When larger boats come cruising through, it creates large waves which can push our boat into the brush hanging over the water, or worse, it can run us into shallow water where there are stumps. While the waves may rock the boat and create some uneasiness, the anchor holds us in place and protects us from more damage.
In the same way, you and I have our hope in God. Life is full of uncertainties and our boat is often tossed about by the waves. There are times where we feel like the boat is going to flip over or that we will run aground. That’s why we need to trust in our anchor of hope. It is our lifeline that connects us to God. It is designed to hold us in place when all these things come through our lives and try to rock our faith. We must learn to trust it more than the waves because waves come and go, but our anchor is firm.
Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for our lives. It is safe and sure, and goes through the curtain of the heavenly temple into the inner sanctuary” (GNT). Think about that image. Our anchor is a direct line to the very presence of God. When it is in use, it is unseen. It is not phased by what’s happening on the surface. When we trust in our anchor, we can have peace in the chaos and uncertainty of life. That hope grounds us in what is true and is eternal, and we will not be moved. If your boat is being rocked right now, grab ahold of that line that is connected to God’s presence and trust Him to hold you until the waters calm down.
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