(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
What makes us lose hope?
You will have to answer this question for yourself, but I’m wondering if some of the following situations cause you to lose hope, i.e. and expectation of a better tomorrow. Here’s five that came to mind…probably because they have triggered a sense of hopelessness. (In no particular order…)
- When the to-do list is longer than the day…and the week…and the month, it is tempting to think getting on top of things will ever happen. One day grinds into the next, into the next. Perhaps what makes it worse is the tasks by time they get done are such tolerations that it doesn’t seem worth celebrating any accomplishment…just move on to the next task.
- Lack of appreciation. When you have expended your best and given your all and no one seems to care or acknowledge or thank you for it, it is easy to lose hope that your life and what you do for others really matters.
- Lack of forgiveness. We are human beings with sinful natures. We will get into conflict with others. Unfortunately at times we have a trail of broken relationships, not because we weren’t willing to work it out or forgive, but the other person is unwilling to work it out and forgive. Makes one feel hopeless that any relationship can be truly enjoyed.
- A pet sin got you again. As followers of Christ we yearn to walk in his ways and honor him in all we think do or say. But then we don’t and we feel hopeless perhaps that we are forgiven or will ever be able to overcome that temptation in the future.
- We have all experience a loss of some kind at some point in our lives. Loss of a loved one. Loss of a relationship. Loss of finances. Loss of a job. Loss of our health, etc. In times of loss, it is difficult to see a future that is better because the present before the loss was better than before the loss (did that make sense?). When what we love and care about goes away, it can lead to a sense of hopelessness.
What would you add to this list? I know there are more.
So why do these and other situations lead to a sense of hopelessness? Perhaps the common theme is I am looking to myself or to others to determine whether I have hope. I am counting on someone being 100% dependable who is incapable of doing just that. I am relying on my own strength and ability to generate a future that is better than the present. And the result?
I still have times of hopelessness.
So what is the answer?
Turn to the one who is the source of all hope. Turn to the One who knows the future before the present plays out. Turn to the One who knows you better than you know yourself. Turn to the one who loves you so much and so consistently that he knows his plans for you and all of them involve hope. Jeremiah the prophet was given this message. (We often focus on verse 11, but notice the context of it.)
Jeremiah 29:10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
There would be a time of challenge, but God would be faithful to his promise. He would gather his people back to himself.
We may not be on a 70-year exile to Babylon, but sometimes in life we feel challenged and apart from the Lord. The great reminder of these verses is that the Lord is always faithful to his promises.
Hope is the expectation of a better future.
Left on our own and focusing on ourselves, there isn’t much hope.
With the Lord and focusing on him and his promises? There is always a reason for hope!
Apply: What situations in life make you feel hopeless. What promise of God can you remember in those times to stay full of hope, even when earthly circumstances seem to speak otherwise.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for knowing the plans you have for me and including in all of them a plan for hope and a future. With you, there is always hope! AMEN.