“If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been impetuous. The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me. … “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life! Then I would still have this consolation—my joy in unrelenting pain—that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me? Job 6:10-13
The Bible has 180 references to hope. Some of those refer to the lack of hope like Job’s. I’ve been without hope. Although Job was with friends when he said this, he was lonely in his pain; he wanted God to cut off his life, so that he would not betray God.
Have you been hopeless?
I’ve found five things that have helped me when I was in the pit of despair.
- Call out to God. David writes in Psalm 30, a Psalm for the dedication of the temple, “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. … weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Frequently, David detailed his troubles to God. The troubles turned to praise once David saw how small his problems were in comparison with how big God is.
- Wait on God. “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 In this microwave society, I find it difficult to wait. Yet, in waiting for God to act, I learn to trust Him for His provision as the Israelites waited each morning for God to provide the mana.
- Choose hope.“This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” II Chronicles 20:15 If God Almighty is fighting my battle over disease and pain, then I choose to hope in Him.
- Consume the Scriptures. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 Two years before the Lord healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, He impressed my husband, Keith, and me that He would heal me. We saturated our thinking with the Scriptures on healing and promises as well as books written about healing.
- Expect God to work.“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45 When Mary entered the home of Elizabeth (6 months pregnant with John), John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb, and Ellizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said this. Mary took God at His word. He said it; He would do it.
Call, wait, choose, consume, expect.
These are active verbs that anticipate a response, an action. Isn’t that what hope is all about?
What if we lived in hope–in anticipation of God working?
My prayer for you:
Father of hope and action, You are a gracious God, pouring out Your blessing upon Your children. May we cry out to you, waiting and choosing to hope in Your abundant love. Teach us to consume Your word and to expect Your promises in our lives. Thank You, Father, for all that You are, all that You do, and all that You love.