The emergency fund dwindles. Relationships strain and fail. The economy sputters. Loneliness seeps in.
Could these 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 and 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 either. 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 (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 eyes off him. Was it easy? Probably not. Certainly, he struggled within the Why?! of the storm. Why? Why me? Why? 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 child’s face toward his own. The Lord God Almighty broke down the hopelessness so heaven’s hope could rise and stand strong, certain, secure.
Maybe you’ve prayerfully thrown your own Whys heavenward. Maybe a frantic Help! or two also! 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? 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 55:22 ESV).
Even when life feels out of control, everything is, in fact, well under control—the Lord’s control. Standing by themselves, these 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:
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good (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 and lasting hope Christ offers bring you peace in the middle of life’s many uncertainties.
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