Updated: Mar 16, 2019
We all could relate to Pastor Lauren's analogy this past Sunday. Sometimes finding hope is like a game of hide and seek in the dark. We can't see it. We might wonder whether or not it is real. But still hope looms out there and when disillusionment and discouragement blind us from seeing hope, sometimes we have to find hope in a different way.
Sometimes, friends, we look for hope in the wrong places.
God's promise for His hope for us still stands, no matter if we feel like it. No matter if it does not look like it. And no matter if we cannot find it. It's there. But accessing it is another matter.
The half-hearted cannot find it. The doubting cannot, either. We must call on Him and come to Him, seeking with ALL of our hearts. This is hard for us as we can be so duplicitous at times. But even in this, we can ask God to help us believe and to help us seek Him - He hears and answers us, as it says in Jeremiah 29:12-14:
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.”
What is amazing to me about this hope God has for us is that it was always there. In the fire. In the storms of life and in times of peace. It is constant. But we often go searching for it in the created rather than in the Creator.
We hunt for hope in entertainment, fallible people, in things of this world. All the while the still small voice of God whispers to our souls, come, weary and burdened. I have a hope that is not temporary but eternal.
And this hope God promises? It was not that life would be perfect. It was not that we would be going to Disney World or have everything our way. It was that there was a superior hope than the hope we were hunting for. A hope firm in Christ that would last forever. Our God is for us. Not against us. His promises are yes and amen. His hope is certain. His hope brings us joy. And His hope is accessed as we come and pray and cry out to our loving, living God.
In my Seeing Deep podcast this week, "Cultivating Joy", I explore how hope is the bedrock on which joy is born. Hope helps us to cultivate the joyful, abundant life Christ wants us to have.
And this promise of hope from the Scripture passage in Jeremiah on Sunday? It was given right smack dab in the middle of a lot of trouble. Isn't that when we need hope? The Israelites were exiled. Conquered by the Babylonians. And right then God tells them to hope. We don't search for hope when all is well - we are content and comfortable then. But in the tough spots, this is when we feel our need for hope most.
So how about you? Maybe you are stumbling in the dark like Lauren compared our walk of faith to a game of hide and seek in the dark. Maybe you are struggling with a diagnosis or a broken relationship. Know that God sees you and His hope for you is certain. Right now. In the dark. At all times—even in those places where everything feels scary and simply hard. His salvation is near. We just have to reach for it. In my ministry blog post this week, "The Difference a Life Saver Makes", I share some personal trials God brought me through and how He can do the same for you. Reach out, friend. Don’t dread the trials. Grab a hold of the lifesaver and cling onto God’s word. God is with you always.
Want to go deeper? Read about one of God's fulfilled promises to His people in the Book of Ezra. After 70 years of captivity, God brought His people back to their own land. Our story is not over, either. Any struggle we go through is temporary and the hope God has for us is eternal. Great is His faithfulness! See you Sunday!