Clinging to Hope in God's Promises
- Thursday, June 05, 2014
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians1:20).
Has God ever made you a promise? Have you ever spent years waiting for God to fulfill that? Have you spent countless hours wrestling with God, begging him to reassure you that the promise was from him? Have you thrown out a fleece (Judges 6) repeatedly?
Almost five years ago, God began taking me down a journey—a journey in which he promised to give me the desires of my heart if I would commit my ways to him (Psalm 37:4-7). As I have wrestled with him in prayer, fasted repeatedly, thrown out fleeces more times than I care to count, I have seen him confirm his promise to me repeatedly. I have reached a place of undeniable confidence that this promise is from him.
This journey has taken me on many twists and turns. I’ve seen my faith stretched and molded as I seek to believe God’s word to me. I’ve cried many tears and collapsed in fits of laughter. I’ve struggled with God’s sovereignty versus man’s free will.
Along the way, God has shown me the condition of my heart. He’s shown me my pride. He’s shown me my fears. He’s revealed how much room I have to grow. Most recently, He has begun to show me that I simply do not trust him. I’m not proud of that fact, but it is the honest truth.
Through all of these days, I have clung to the knowledge that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), that he is always faithful (Hebrews 10:23), that he always fulfills his promises to his people (Luke 1:37). I have done my best to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). I finally reached a place where I was completely confident that the days of fulfillment were near and that God would fulfill his promise to me.
And then, all hopes for fulfillment vanished in one single moment.
In that moment and in the days since, I’ve been faced with a decision: Do I continue to believe God, to cling to hope for a promised fulfilled, or do I walk away and attempt to reconcile my faith based upon a broken promise?
Although my faith has been shaken and I am still trying to get my feet underneath me again, I cannot deny that this promise is truly from God—and he continues to reassure me regularly that I have not misunderstood. Therefore, I have no choice but to continue clinging to hope.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Isaiah 26:3).
These are difficult days. I have found myself in turmoil more times than I care to admit. I have discovered that I was focusing far more energy and attention on the promise God has made me than I was focusing on the Promise Maker, the Promise Keeper. As I readjust my mind, my thoughts on him, I find that peace again becomes the pervading reality of my life.
I have repeatedly heard God calling out to me, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). My sense of excitement and anticipation of the fulfillment of this promise has caused me to become distracted. I have spent literally hours begging God to bring his promise to fruition. I have spent entire nights in prayer, knowing that fulfillment is near. And yet, I have failed to simply be still in his presence, to sit and soak in the love of my Savior. Right now, as I struggle to cling to faith and trust him in the darkness, he is calling me to his presence—and nothing else.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve discovered that I don’t fully trust God. Oh, I can sure trust him when things are going well and I can see his hand at work around me. But, when things begin to fall apart, I find myself doubting him, his faithfulness, his ability.
God has begun to simply remind me that he is sovereign, that he can see the present—as well as the future. He reminds me daily that he has the ability to turn hearts and control circumstances. He sees the big picture and he knows what will best accomplish his purpose in my life and in the lives of others.
From my human standpoint, it looks as if the future is bleak and the promise will never be fulfilled. However, he reminds me that his ways are higher than my ways, that his thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). It is easy to trust God when I can see and understand what he is doing; he is calling me to trust him when I can’t. I must learn to trust him with my heart and not lean on my own finite, human understanding.
Now a man was sick, Lazarus, from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent a message to him: “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
When Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was (John 11:1-6).
God is jealous for his glory. When he shows up, he wants to make sure that everyone knows it was him so that the world will be pointed back to him. When Lazarus was sick, Jesus said that the sickness was for God’s glory. He stayed where he was until Lazarus was dead, and then he went to see him.
By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead and in the tomb for four days. Mary and Martha were beside themselves with grief, whining to Jesus that if he had only showed up on time he could have healed Lazarus.
Jesus said to [Martha], “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)
And then, as only he can do, he called Lazarus from the grave. The dead man walked out of the tomb!
As I look through scripture, it seems that God always waits until the situation is impossible—until no human can change the circumstances. God delights in showing up and showing off! He loves to take impossible situations and demonstrate his power. He wants to make sure that the world is pointed back to him through these situations.
From where I sit today, nothing can cause this promise to become a reality. It is humanly impossible. Therefore, the stage is set for God to show up and show off his power! I simply need to be still and wait for him (Exodus 14:14). I don’t know how long it will take, but I will remember the faithfulness of God, the Promise Keeper. I will remember that he delights in doing the impossible for his children.
Until the day that God fulfills this promise, I will cling to my Savior. I will believe that he is able to do far more than I can ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I will continue to walk by faith and not by sight. I will let God do his work in me, molding me into his image so that I can reflect his glory. I will cling to my Savior with all that is within me.
I will praise him that this promise is Yes and amen in him.
Dena Johnson is a busy single mom of three kids who loves God passionately. She delights in taking the everyday events of life, finding God in them, and impressing them on her children as they sit at home or walk along the way (Deuteronomy 6:7). Her greatest desire is to be a channel of God’s comfort and encouragement. You can read more of Dena’s experiences with her Great I AM on her blog Dena's Devos.
Publication date: June 5, 2014
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