Against All Hope

176964_7350Everything we see, everything we hear, everything we feel ~ it can all tell us that it’s time to quit trying, to give up our dream and our calling, to give into despair.

Sometimes, it would be easier to slide right into believing all of these things that are right in front of us.  It would be easier to stop expecting better things.  It would be less disappointing and less heart-breaking to just accept what is and to throw away that vision of what could be.

If this is where you are right now,  please ~ hold on. Don’t give up.

If your heart is breaking, if your faith is fragile, if you are afraid ~ don’t give up.

It may be an outright battle to keep hope in your hands, but it is a fight you can win through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We have an enemy and he is going to fight you to the finish ~ John 10:10 tells us plainly that the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  He wants to devour your God-given purpose and your calling to speak out the name of Jesus into this world.  He wants to take your faith and your hope in the promises of our Father.

When everything seems to be going wrong, when things don’t work out ~ there’s his voice, bearer of hopelessness.  It might sound a little like Job’s wife ~ why don’t you just curse God and die? It might sound like the voice of the Israelites ~ did God bring us here to hunger, to thirst, to fall by the sword?  We would have been better off as slaves in Egypt!  It might sound like the voice of a giant ~ Are you fighting me with little sticks? Come here and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!  It might sound like the voice of a king ready to attack ~ on what are you basing your confidence, that you remain under siege?  Who of all the gods of these nations that my predecessors destroyed has been able to save his people from me?  How then can your God deliver you from my hand?

It might sound like the voices of the elders, scornful at the foot of the cross ~ He saved others, but He can’t save Himself!

It sounds like a stone is rolling into place ~ like it is pushing your purpose, your relationship, your hope of a life full and free into an airless and dark tomb.

It sounds like all is lost.  It sounds like you have failed ~ maybe it even sounds like God has failed.

But listen  ~ your expectations… your promises… your hope is in “the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.”

Romans 4 goes on to say that against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Without weakening in his faith, Abraham faced the fact that his body was as good as dead ~ since he was about a hundred years old ~ and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.

Yet Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.

Abraham saw the facts and it looked hopeless. That voice was loud and clear ~ it was over.

There was no reason to think that he and Sarah could have a child, not when their youth was gone and the spark of life taken from their bodies.  There was no reason to think that they’d ever have the joy they’d wanted for so long.

No reason ~ but God.  God had promised.  God had spoken to Abraham and said ~ Yes, this is going to be your blessing and through it all men shall be blessed.  Yes, you will be the father of nations and Sarah will be their mother.

Yes ~ the years, they passed.  The perfect timing and the perfect circumstances passed.

Yet still Abraham in hope believed, against all hope ~ against all the facts and all the fears ~ that God had the power to do what He had promised.

When he least expected it, when the odds were fully against it ~ a baby boy came kicking and laughing into this world.  God fulfilled His promise in the better way, in the miraculous way that no other could accomplish.

It’s His way, to bring salvation in the strangest of ways.  It’s His way to show up in the can’t-be-done and the it’s-too-late now.  It’s His way to leave no doubt that He and He alone is Lord over all ~ because who else could do what our God has done?

Who else could part a sea to make way for escape from an enemy?  Who else could bring down a city with a march and a shout?  Who else could knock down a giant with a single stone?  Who else could shut the lion’s mouth?  Who else could bring men out of a fire, without the slightest singe?  Who else could make an army flee from Jerusalem without a single man of Israel lifting a sword against them?  Who else could use a giant fish to save a drowning man?  Who else could feed thousands with one basket of food?  Who else could speak to the days-dead in their grave and watch life walk out?

Who else could defeat death by sacrificing His own life?

No, your facts might not be what you want them to be. Your situation may be far from the promise for which you’ve been waiting.

But, friend, dig your heels in.  Raise your hands in victory.  Because your hope is in the God of the impossible.  Nothing is too hard for our God and He will not abandon you to that dark tomb.  The thief may be trying to steal, kill, and destroy you, but here’s the end of that verse in John 10 ~ Jesus came that you may have life, and have it abundantly.

He knows exactly where you are.  He knows exactly what is going on.  He knows your need.  He knows how long you have waited.

He also knows the best way, the better way ~ the glory-only-to-the-God-of-the-Impossible way to fulfill His promises for you.

I love what He says in Isaiah 55: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Instead of the thorn-bush will grow the juniper, and instead of briars the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

We can’t always understand how He is working.  We usually don’t understand why we are in a season of waiting.

Yet trust in Him because you know who He is: mighty, merciful, faithful to His every Word.  He will accomplish what He desires for your life ~ He will bring you that beautiful place of peace and so much joy that creation itself cannot help but burst into song!

He has saved you and called you because of His unending love for you ~ and He is not going to leave you alone.  Even as you wait, even as you hold onto your hope ~ His divine power has given us everything we need for a Godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3).

Never, ever give up your hope that is in His name.

When you hear the voice of the enemy telling you to abandon your purpose, that your prayers are pointless ~ do not be discouraged and do not be afraid.  Instead, ‘be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Pick up your sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and stand your ground. ‘Press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of’ for you.  Hope in His promises!

I am confident ~ because He never changes! ~ that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. This (all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-gracious!) God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.   (from Phil. 1:6 & Psalm 48:14)

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.  Hebrews 10:23

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:5

…but He will bind up our wounds… He will revive us, He will restore us that we may live in His presence.  Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him.  As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. from Hosea 6

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.  Psalm 138:8


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