March 14, 2012
A Hope to Hold Onto
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:11 (NIV 1984)
My husband is a bookkeeper for an industry that's been greatly affected by the economy. Every evening when Pat walks through our back door, I see worry across his brow and the weight of responsibility on his shoulders.
He's consumed with "what ifs." What if the company goes down? What if he can't find another job? What if he has to pull our children out of college, or sell the car or our home? Each month, as Pat closes the books, he grows deeper in despair. Sadly, he's not alone.
People everywhere are in crises. In the midst of massive layoffs, foreclosures and bank failures, many are losing hope. It's easy to give in to worry—for my husband, for me ... for you?
Hard times have not only shaken my hope, but they've allowed me to see I often misplace my hope. Sometimes, I experience disappointment because I have put my hope in material things, in money, a job and even in success.
But the apostle Paul had a different claim, "Hope in Christ does not disappoint."
That's good advice from a man who had many reasons to despair throughout his life. He often found himself hungry, naked, shipwrecked, beaten and imprisoned. Instead of losing all hope, Paul preached to his soul, like the Psalmist did in our key verse. They both chose to put hope in God alone. No matter the outcome, Paul was not disappointed.
In our lives, we may lose hope, but the God of all hope has not lost us. That's when it's especially important to cling tightly to the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:8, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair" (NIV 1984).
While trouble may surround us, we are not alone. When we feel hedged in by doubt, we can remember we have a Helper, Who is our great support. God is our hope. We don't have to be perplexed, uncertain or concerned about our future. He has promised to deliver us.
We experience deliverance from hopelessness by remembering Christ's counsel. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33 NIV 1984). Jesus is saying that financial trouble will come, health will falter, children may rebel, and loved ones will die ... but He has overcome it all. Christ is bigger than any trouble you and I face.
Pat and I are learning to give up the illusion of a trouble-free life. In this fallen world, it's just not possible. Desiring a life unmarked by pain and problems is misplaced hope. God never promised we'd be happy and healthy. No. He promised if we would trust Him in the midst of adverse circumstances, we would not be disappointed. That, my friend, is a hope we can hold on to.
Dear Lord, I'm finished and done with putting my hope in people, things, and position. Today, I'm putting my hope in You alone. Even if my circumstances don't change, I will trust You to fill me with Your peace and provide the strength I need to make it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
This devotion is from Micca's women's conference entitled, A Hope to Hold Onto. Click here if you'd like to find out more about bringing this message to your event.
An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell
Click here to sign up for a new online study of Micca's book, An Untroubled Heart, beginning March 25th with Melissa Taylor.
Reflect and Respond:
Stop wishing and start expecting. To hope in the Lord is not like wishing for something. It's an expectation—something you can count on. In other words, we can expect God, in His timing, to make good on His promises to us.
Has misplaced hope been a disappointment or benefit to you? What does God promise if you put your hope in Him?
Romans 5:5, "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (NIV 1984)
Psalm 119:116, "Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed." (NIV 1984)
© 2012 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.
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