Hope for the Hopeless
Read Job 27:2-6
"As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,as long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. Far be it from me to say that you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days."
- What are you looking forward to most?
- If you choose not to follow God, you have no hope beyond this life. How does that reality make you feel? (Please explain.)
- Hope grows as we continue to trust the Lord through life's trials. What steps can you take to do this?
As we're making our way through the book of Job, we're getting an inside look at Job's changing emotions. Sometimes he was deep in his grief, mourning the tragedies that had occurred. Other times he was angry, lamenting why these things had happened when he'd been so faithful to God.
And sometimes he was hopeful, declaring that he knew his Redeemer lived. At the darkest moments, the promise that things will change and the situation will get better keeps us going. It gives us a reason to wake up in the morning, get dressed, and face the day.
What did Job have to hope in? His children and his servants were not coming back. The sheep and cattle, too, were gone forever. If Job's hope rested solely on everything returning to exactly as it was before, he hoped in vain.
One of the most impactful experiences I've (Pam) had in my professional life is working on a crisis hotline. Though it was also referred to as a suicide hotline, most of our callers were not contemplating taking their own lives. Rather, they were struggling with some issue such as grief, depression, post-traumatic stress, or simply loneliness.
Each call was different, depending on the caller's needs. However, after we had talked them through the crisis, we would ask them what they planned to do next. This wasn't a strategy to end the call so we could move on to the next. It was a deliberate technique to get them to look forward to something with anticipation. As we sat in a small, poorly furnished room answering calls from desperate people, we tried, in our own small ways, to instill some hope in their lives.
Job pointed out that we have no hope beyond this life if we do not follow God. For him, hope remained. He still had a loving God whom he trusted, even when he was in pain and asking questions. Because of his hope, Job boldly proclaimed that he would hold on to his integrity.
Romans 5:3-5 also talks about hope: "We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Did you catch the "produces" part? It means that we aren't just given a certain allotment of hope when we're born and that's all we have. It grows as we endure life's trials and let the Holy Spirit work in our hearts.
Lord, thank You for the hope You've givenme for eternal life with You. Help me to face each day with endurance and abundant hope. Amen.