God’s intent…His plan and purpose for each one of us, is to give us hope and a eternal future with Him. Now the entire Chapter of Job is about a man suffering unspeakable losses, but we surprisingly find this encouraging word in Job 8:7, “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” Right now you may be suffering…out of work, low on money, and depressed about what the future holds. But realize this, God is aware and understands your situation completely…and His intention for you is only good. For your future is securely in His hands, and your future is full of hope.
Christmas can be a very tough time for those who have lost loved ones. That empty chair at the Dinner table is a sad reminder of happier times and the flood of memories from Christmases past makes the day a little harder to bear. This week we attended a funeral of a friend and then this morning we got the call that a family member had just passed. So this verse is very special this Christmas Day, for there is always hope in Jesus…and though sorrow and loss come into all our lives and we sit in the darkness created by them…we have assurance that we can rise on the wings of hope into His blessed light.
What does hope look like to you? In the simplest of terms it means a promise for the future. For without hope, life is just a bleak and discouraging journey as we wait for the end. So where can we find this hope? The Psalms are full of hope so to speak…for we’re told that hope can be found in God. (Psalm 42:5) It’s also found in God’s Word. (Psalm 130:5) Psalm 9:18 reminds us this hope from God will never perish, and that we have this precious hope as an anchor for our lives in times of trouble. (Hebrews 6:19) Do you need some hope today? May the God of hope fill you with hopeful expectation as you look to Him.
You’ve been around them too…people who are all talk and no action. They may speak eloquently and have great ideas…but they lack followup and dedication to actually get the work done. They make a lot of noise, but that’s all. Paul is showing us here that it’s the love of Christ in our hearts that make the difference between just making noise and changing the world for Him.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of holding on for the day. Holding on to our courage and the hope of which we boast, (Hebrews 3:6) and remaining steady in our sense of confidence that God is truly in control of the chaos around us. And as long as we can affirm to ourselves His goodness and love…we can hold on for another day.
Godlessness can be very subtle, clever, and hardly noticeable to others. That’s because deception can be just as sly in twisting a truth ever so slightly…or planting a seed of doubt in an otherwise confident mind. For anytime we put our trust in ourselves…in our own way, we’re not putting our faith in God. We may think we’ve got this and don’t need God’s help, but Psalm 33:6 tells us that, “No king is saved by the size of his army, no warrior escapes by his great strength.” God is very direct in this verse in Hosea…if you purse godlessness, you will be destroyed. For anytime we put our hope in our own actions rather than God, we can but only reap trouble. (Job 4:8)
Sometimes it’s because of serious illness or loss…sometimes it’s the result of circumstances way beyond our control…but regardless, we can find ourselves without hope. There standing before us is no bright promise for things to come…only the bleak darkness of the here and now. But God’s intent…His plan and purpose for each one of us, is to give us hope and a future with Him. For God’s Will is only about doing good…His plans are perfect, His purpose for us, only the very best. So in place of our hopelessness, God promises joy… and in place of fear, He promises peace.
In I Peter 3:12 the Apostle Peter quotes Psalm 34:15 when he writes, ” For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayers.” Peter was writing to God-fearing Christians, encouraging them to endure the persecution that was prevalent at the time. Persecution can take on many type of faces. It can be internal physical affliction that drags us down…or it can be external forces that exasperate and irritate us. Peter wanted to show that regardless of the kind of persecution…God’s loving mercy is everlasting and always near to those who love Him.
Psalm 40:1 says, “I wait patently for the Lord.” Exodus 14:14 tells us, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” In these verses in Lamentations the author, Jeremiah, wants to stress not only the need to wait patiently for the Lord in confident hopefulness…but to wait quietly, marked by little activity to attempt to fix things on our part. (In other words, not trying to “help God.”) To do both simultaneously and to do them well is a real test of our trust in Him.