This week's memory verse:
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Hope against hope...a saying that's heard when a situation seems "hopeless," but you keep hoping that one day it will change. I am not someone who likes to think of anyone or any situation as hopeless, but I must admit that sometimes it does get hard to keep hoping for the best when all you see is the worst.
Our book leads us to read about and think about Abram and Sarah. (Genesis 12, 15:1-6) For YEARS God had promised him that he would be a father and that his son would be the beginning of many nations. If God spoke to you and made you a promise like that...you would put some stock into that promise, wouldn't you say? But what if even MORE years went by, and you and your wife were over 90 years old...your body would be tired, weak, and everyone knew they were beyond the childbearing years! Can you imagine the conversations that Abram had with God over the years that are NOT recorded in Genesis? Come on God! What in the world are you waiting for??? I am an OLD man! My wife's body can't withstand childbirth at her age? Were you just being symbolic with your promise? Are you for real?
When he was 99 years old, Genesis 17:1-8 says that God again reminded Abram of his promises, and changes his name to Abraham, which means "Father of many nations." It was TEN MORE YEARS before a son was born to Abraham and Sarah.
Paul says in Romans 4:18 "against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations."We have many promises in the Bible, which is God's instrument of communication with us, of how things are and how they are to be. It is hard for us to live in this scary and fallen world, and hang on to those promises, isn't it? But we are on this earth for maybe 80-100 years...God made these promises THOUSANDS of years ago...we have seen miracles, we have seen what faith and hope can do in our lives. Surely we can keep remembering God's promises!
There are situations in my life that I have sometimes felt were hopeless...My weight has been one of them. I have been heavy my whole life. I have had over 40 years of bad choices and bad habits...what makes me think that I can change all that now? I am learning to change those thoughts into...with God's help, why CAN'T I change? Of course I can!
My money situation seems hopeless every month when I pay my bills. There just doesn't seem to be enough to go around. My debts seem so HUGE...How am I ever going to make enough to dig out of this? I hope against hope that SOMETHING is going to happen...that I can change bad habits, make wiser choices, get a better paying job...that will help me with this stressful situation. I don't believe God is going to RESCUE me out of this...I believe and HOPE that even though it seems hopeless, God is going to lead me OUT of it! I am going to keep believing and hoping until the day I die!
Dear Lord, I ask that today, you restore to me and to my friends reading this message the gift of hope so that we may please you as Abraham did. Help us to commit all of our situations to You and wait on your timing. Amen.