Words of Hope
E-Devotion Jan 2017

Words of Hope

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DEVOTION

Editor’s note: This month’s devotion is slightly adapted from a Ministry Message that accompanies CTA’s care ministries products. CTA has a variety of resources - some of them FREE - to help you serve God’s people in times of trouble. Check them out today!

 

Words of Hope

The vacation fund dwindles. Workplace conflicts escalate weekly. Relationships fail. The economy sputters. Loneliness seeps in.

Could those words, or similar words, serve as the caption for a picture of your current situation? Unfortunately, too many of us could respond in the affirmative. Maybe the picture seems oddly out of focus, but it’s obvious a storm rages around you. You may even witness the pieces of your life - the things that have given you security, stability - swirling away. In times like that, it’s easy, maybe even commonplace, to find ourselves overcome by exasperation . . . anxiety . . . discouragement . . . anger . . . hope.

Hope? Wait a minute! Can hope find its way into this picture and into your life? Yes! And not a wistful, I-sure-hope-so kind of hope. No, rather, a God-created, God-directed, God-strong hope!

At one point in history, things looked bleak - not only for an entire nation, but for individuals and families as well. Joy eluded everyone. The future looked miserable. Then one man engaged God in intense conversation, openly voicing his pain. His “Why?”rose to heaven as he sought God’s explanation and received God’s wisdom in return.

After wrestling with his pain and listening to the Lord’s responses, this man could say with confidence:

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:17–19 ESV

In the eye of a seemingly out-of-control storm, this man of God chose to keep his eyes on the Lord who wouldn’t (and couldn’t) take his eye off him. Was it easy? Probably not. Certainly he struggled within the “Why?!” of the storm. “Why? Why me? We are your people, whom you love!”

But this believer didn’t get stuck in that place. He wisely allowed his Savior-God to enter the picture of his life. And it changed everything! The Lord grew the man’s faith. The Lord turned his servant’s face toward his own. The Lord God Almighty broke down the hopelessness so heaven’s hope could rise and stand strong, certain, secure.

Despite the crisis, God’s prophet chose to rejoice in his Savior - the Savior who was bigger than the crisis. You, too, can know for sure that Jesus Christ, who died for you, wants to be your strength, your security, the object (and creator) of your joy. He wants to lift you from despair to new heights.

But before you relax into hope, perhaps you first need to ask your own “why”questions. Why has this happened? Why do I feel this way? Why am I feeling so alone? Perhaps circumstances beyond your control have brought you to a place of uncertainty and hopelessness. If so, that can be a hard truth to admit, because it means the future is also uncertain - and, consequently, intimidating. Even so, our changeless God promises we can trust him:

Cast your burden on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22ESV

Your Savior wants you to know that he is your stronghold (Psalm 9:9). Even as the storm rages on, the Lord wants to calm you in its midst, so you’ll find yourself echoing the confident, faith-filled words of the psalmist:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1–2 ESV

Even when life feels out of control, everything is, in fact, well under control—the Lord’s control. Standing by themselves, those words may not comfort you, until you remember that the One in control loved you enough to die for you! He’s on your side and by your side! When bad news comes out of the blue, threatening to send you crashing into despair, in confident hope, you can say:

If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31 ESV

We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 ESV

Therefore, before you step into each new day, unsure of what may lie around the next bend, take time to stand on the promise of your never-changing, all-powerful Savior, the One who says to you:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:27 ESV

Those words of hope place you in the strong, safe, and comforting hands of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Let the true hope Christ offers point you beyond your struggles to the eternal joy your Savior will give you on the day he dismantles all the sin, suffering, and death that now unsettle you. Allow God’s Spirit to bring that truth into focus for you day in and day out as you rely on your Savior’s words of hope.

You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2016 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.

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