Gloom, Despair, Agony

Psalm 88: 13 – 18

I cry out to you for help, O Lord, and in the morning my prayer will come into your presence. Why do you reject my soul, O Lord? Why do you hide your face from me? Ever since I was young, I have been suffering and near death. I have endured your terrors, and now I am in despair. Your burning anger has swept over me. Your terrors have destroyed me. They swirl around me all day long like water. They surround me on all sides. You have taken my loved ones and friends far away from me. Darkness is my only friend!

Woe is me!! This is the cry of desperation. And yet . . .?

The writer cries out to the Lord which I find interesting, perhaps even amusing because it is the Lord whom he blames for his troubles. Why then, complain to the Lord? Why importune Him for relief? It is because in our heart of hearts, we know that the Lord, our God, did not send us down to the pit. We know He is our salvation, not our tormentor.

The author, for all his despair, has not lost hope and in that we, too, draw encouragement. There has never been a moment in all of history which was without hope, nor shall there ever be, because we have a benevolent God and we know that He is always within reach. His ear is always listening for our prayer.

The heart of human beings knows, instinctively, that God is our hope and our salvation. Our very DNA cries out to Him because our DNA is made of Him. Though we accuse God and cry out against Him; though we blame Him for the ills of the world, in the darkest hour, when it seems darkness is our only friend, our spirits cry out and yearn for the one we know can and will save us from the pain. We have a deep and abiding knowledge coursing through our cells, that our God is our breath and that He is saving grace. He is the hope that is that one little speck of light when darkness threatens to overwhelm us. God is good. He loves us and He is listening for the call of all of His children.

God of Hope

Romans 15: 13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We never have to be without hope because God sent us the Holy Spirit through whom we always have hope. And in hope we can be continuously filled with joy and peace. When you let go of hope you will find that joy and peace leave as well. But we can always abide with all three because wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is hope.

I know the situation looks bleak. I know that the people involved in your crisis do not appear in the least cooperative but don’t forget God. He is able to work out the most contrary and difficult conditions. There is no such thing as hopelessness in God. So, if you are feeling hopeless you just need to press into God and let Him minister hope to your heart. No matter what we say, feel or think, there is always an element that must be figured in. That is the power of the living God. Regardless of the appearance of things He is able to trump all and turn a bad situation around to your good. Don’t give up. Hang in there until the end. Don’t quit believing and hoping. In the end, you will see God’s deliverance.

Hope Too

Romans 5: 5

And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given.

Don’t lose hope because, just like love, hope does not fail. Even though the horizon may look troublesome, do not give in to fear and hopelessness. Your hope is in the Lord Jesus, our Father and the Holy Spirit who they sent to us. The love that was poured out to us is the anchor of our hope because that love can never fail. It is pure, secure and determined. That love brought Jesus into the world for the reconciliation and redemption of us all. How can you give up hope when the God of the universe is the one who sent you His own love in order to secure you? Look up. Look upon that horizon with renewed faith and confidence. It may look like storm clouds, but it is really your victory on its way to you. Just don’t give up before it reaches you. Through the love of God, your hope will have its satisfaction.

Hope

Acts 2: 26

Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will abide in hope.

It is a horrible thing to live without hope, and yet there are many people who are doing just that. But you don’t have to be without hope any longer. Jesus brought hope into the world. Now you can be free of dejection, depression and sorrow.

When Jesus went to the cross, died and rose again, he accomplished more than salvation for your eternal soul. He brought hope into a dying world. He became hope. He died that we might live. He told us in John 10: 10 that he came to give us abundant life. Jesus conquered hell and the grave that we might live in joy and victory, his victory, the victory that he won for us. When we couldn’t overcome, he overcame for us. When we were downtrodden, he arose, lifting us up with him.

You see there is no reason for you to be overcome with the anguish of this world any longer. Although we know that the world dishes out pain and suffering, Jesus said for us to take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16: 33). You do not have to despair any longer. Jesus has made a way for you to be comforted and enjoy the good fruit of his victory.

Finding Joy

Psalm 42: 5        NIV

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

This week we are continuing our journey through the psalms with this passage from Psalm 42. Since you seem to be enjoying the psalms, we will continue to do one every Monday.

This psalm is one sad lament and yet, is there one amongst us who has not felt equally forlorn at some point in life? The psalmist had a revelation, though, one which buoyed him even at his lowest points. He knew that a time of praise was coming, a time to thank God for rescuing him from this desperate place and time. Though the shadows darkened his doorway, he knew that light was coming and that the light would overshadow even the darkest dread. From that point of knowing we can shout, “Hallelujah!” Even when situations seem threatening, even in the midst of turmoil, we shout praises to the Father knowing that He is present and will lift us and set us high on a mountaintop.

God is worthy of the praise but what is thrilling about offering praise even when your soul is downcast is that the praise itself has power. It begins to lift your soul and brighten the horizon. Sometimes it is all we need to break the binding darkness. When we lift our eyes and fix them on Jesus, the flood of light fills the space. Darkness must flee in the presence of the light. It is the easiest and most natural thing in the world to keep looking at the trouble which is oppressing your soul. However, we are not of the world. You are of God little children and it is upon Him that you should cast your gaze. Looking at the glory of the Father who loves you more than life, shines joy and hope into our innermost being. We only need become as accomplished as this dear psalmist at recognizing the loving kindness and radiant power of a Lord who is always willing to be our rescuer.

Let not your heart be troubled. Do not give into the worry and fear. Sing your praise to the Father confident that He has your back and is with you always. Sing your way clear of trouble. Shout away your sorrows. Give thanks knowing your savior is near. Put your hope in God and let your joy be renewed.

Dry Those Eyes

Jeremiah 31: 16 – 17

Thus says the Lord, “Restrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded,” declares the Lord, . . . “and there is hope for your future,” declares the Lord.

God is speaking to us today. He is speaking from His heart. Let’s listen to His words of encouragement and faith. You did know that God is a person of faith, didn’t you? He began everything by calling those things which be not into being, but that is a message for another day. This day, He wants to tell you to dry your eyes. He has promised you a hope and a future.

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,” (Jeremiah 29: 11). He didn’t change His mind from chapter 29 to chapter 31. In fact, He reinforced His statement by repeating it so that we would be sure to understand that He has good plans for our futures. Now you can listen to the world or you can listen to God. Personally, I am more interested in what God has to say. The world will try to convince you that tomorrow holds calamity and that the world is falling apart. Well, we are not of this world. Isn’t that what the Bible says? So who are you going to believe?

Your Father, your real Father, the one who conceived you before the dawn of time saw this day and you in it. He saw your hopes, dreams, victories and disappointments. He saw the tears you cry today before the earth was every formed and He speaks into that very moment telling you, “Fear not. Have no worries. I, the Lord, am your guard and refuge and I will turn your sorrow to shouts of joy, your mourning to laughter.” He has a plan for tomorrow and it is a good plan.

Hear the good news of the Lord. Your work will be rewarded. Have you toiled but have yet to reap the harvest? Don’t give up; don’t give in. Take this promise of the Lord. Take it and hold on to it. Paint it on your bathroom mirror. Put a sticker on your cell phone. You are sure to see it there. Remind yourself; remind your Father. You have a promise from El Shaddai, a promise from the Holy One of Israel. Hold onto that and believe.

Hope and Trust

Romans 15: 13             NIV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Most of us are attracted to this prayer and the idea that we may be filled with joy and peace. There are a couple of interesting nuances, though, that we should look at.

First, Paul calls God the God of hope. Then at the end of the verse his prayer is for us to overflow with hope. Third, this overflowing hope comes to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, let’s just think about hope for a moment.

Hope is the precursor of faith. Faith is believing that what you once hoped for is a spiritual reality and will manifest physically. Faith is knowing that what you hoped for and then prayed for is yours in Christ Jesus. Many of our prayers begin with that simple hope though. So, hope is the beginning point and our Father is the God of hope. He is the source of hope. Without Him, there is no hope and that is so true. Hope, joy and peace are in Him and the Holy Spirit brings all three to us through his power. He is the actuator, Father is the supply.

Lastly, there is a key element in this prayer. Paul indicates that we have a role too. We are initiators. This is a grand machine with you, your father and the Holy Spirit all as parts. The initiator must begin the process and as the initiator you do that through trust. Paul understood, and thus teaches, that God is able to fill you with all joy and peace but only as you trust Him. I wonder, too, if we are filled to the depth of our trust, almost as if our level of trust establishes the size of our tank. God will give us all we can hold, all we want but it is in relationship to our ability, or willingness perhaps, to put our trust in Him. Whatever your trust God for, whatever you believe Him for, that is the requisition form which is filled by the Holy Spirit. You place the order. Tell the Divine Trinity what you want, what you are believing for by placing your trust in God to bring it to you. Trust plus the God of Hope and the power of the Holy Spirit equals the blessing of God flowing through you and on you in abundance. Be blessed!