“The Peril Of Hopelessness”
November 1, 2016
Amish farmer near Belleville, PA
Belleville is in the Kishacoquillas Valley in Central PA south of State College. As you can see this farm spreads right up to a mountain. This photo was taken by Greg Schneider, a friend of ours, who is also a newspaper photographer.
“The Peril Of Hopelessness”
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“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved” (Acts 27:20). “You were tired out by the length of your road, Yet you did not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewed strength, Therefore you did not faint” (Isaiah 57:10). “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” (Romans 15:13). “How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5).
Yesterday Brooksyne met with a woman whose life has been unstable for the past twenty-three years. Her shattered relationships leave her with no one to rely on or to come alongside her as she battles life’s storms, many of them brought about by poor choices and sinful living. One of the tremendous blessings of being a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, is declaring to those whose situations seem hopeless is that we serve “the God of hope” who can take the shattered pieces of our lives, the heartaches we bear, the messes we’ve created and turn it around for His glory. Just consider Saul, the former persecutor of the church, his incredible Damascus Road experience, and how God used him in his own generation and all generations to follow to influence others for Christ. Before Paul’s salvation experience believers would have thought anything related to Saul was a hopeless cause.
In our chaplaincy work we encounter many people going through all kinds of difficult circumstances. Since we work in the secular world we must be especially sensitive and await their receptivity and openness as we seek to share guidance from the Bible. However we deeply and fundamentally believe God alone is the foundational component in the solution to any need we have.
Every day people deal with a sense of hopelessness to varying degrees. For some it’s a personal or family matter. But for many, including a large majority of believers, we see the looming sense of hopelessness regarding world conditions in general and the political situation in particular here in the United States. Quite candidly neither major candidate running for the highest office in our nation instills much hope in us!
The daily Scripture text is Luke’s account of a horrific storm in which he describes those on board the ship, including himself (notice the “we”) as feeling hopeless. What utter despair the 276 men on board must have felt as the experienced sailors on the boat assessed the severity of their situation and were themselves in despair.
The men on board the ship could gather no hope from the storm that continued to rage or from the heavy, dark clouds that refused to clear. “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” When it’s dreary day after day we too can easily become discouraged. Generally speaking people are energized by the sun and wearied by dark clouds. In such times the weather can negatively affect our outlook exasperating our problem. There’s spiritual parallel to that.
Paul, who had earlier warned them not to take the journey, had a powerful word of hope and encouragement for the passengers and crew: “But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed” (27:22). As the authorities on board took orders from their prisoner, Paul, it happened exactly as he had prophesied!
The darkness of our particular circumstance, along with contributing factors that may be out of our control, tempts us to give up all hope of finding a redemptive outcome. But like our Bible story, if we are obedient to God’s instruction like Paul and the men on board the ship, we too can find hope and the outcome will be favorable in the end.
Remember, for all that we cannot be sure of in our present circumstance, we can be sure that God reigns and is in control. We can draw strength from that which is a certainty in our lives in the midst of uncertain times. We put this verse to memory years ago and find spiritual strength and divine guidance each time we quote it. It brings a cheerful outlook to one’s morning “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).
There is always hope, as we serve the God of hope. Brooksyne and I prayed for our readers and listeners before we sent this message out, as we do for every message. We urge each reader to receive this Biblical benediction today, “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” (Romans 15:13).
Your situation may seem hopeless and perhaps it is, from other’s viewpoints. Remember this, dear friend, the God of hope does not work in the natural, but rather the supernatural. Jesus said, “All things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). God’s supernatural work is not limited to human resources, earth’s time clock, nor man’s understanding. Aren’t you glad for that! Today let us pray and hope for the impossible because it is in the impossible realm that we can be certain God is at work.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Heavenly Father, when those aboard the ship in Acts 27 were looking at the gloomy forecast that appeared for many days their hopes diminished day by day. So often that’s what leads us to defeat; we fear the raging storm and the damage it will do, instead of looking to the One who controls the wind and waves. We consider those suffering today, reminding us that You are a God of the impossible, bringing hope in the midst of devastation, restoration in the midst of brokenness, comfort when our hearts are hurting, courage that will enable us to take the first step toward the change You want to bring about. Today we bring a message of hope, not based on what we see, but in the hope we have through the Holy Spirit as we trust in You. Amen.
Study note: In the providence of God the instruction He wants to convey to us in the inspired Scriptures is contained in a relatively small book we call the Bible. There are many life questions we have that are unanswered, at least specifically. Now don’t misunderstand me here or see me as sacrilegious but I wonder sometimes why we have so much information and detail on that which may seem to be of little eternal consequence. In studying for today’s message I wonder why Acts 27 is a detailed chronicle of a journey and shipwreck? I suppose I would rather have seen this chapter being a teaching answering some of the questions I have! However as I pondered this it occured to me that the account is illustrative of life.
We want to share a special word of encouragement to those who may read this who are serving the Lord in some type of ministry. So many of my ministry peers face increasing discouragement in their service for the Lord. You may face church conflict, broken lives and broken families, spiritual lethargy and what seems an onslaught of demonic forces. Hide this truth deep in your heart: As we faithfully point people to Jesus Christ we are indisputably engaged in life’s greatest work. Our position may not have the worldly esteem and income of many other “callings” but in the perspective of eternity everything else will be petty in comparison. Let us stay faithful!
Brooksyne came across this powerful quote in a Study Bible regarding 2 Peter 1:3. “No additional human wisdom, technique or theory is needed to complete the sufficiency of God’s Word that reveals our perfect salvation in Christ. The words of Jesus, the New Testament apostolic faith and God’s grace were adequate in the early days of the church to meet the needs of the lost, and they are just as adequate today. Absolutely nothing can offer more height, depth, strength and help than what Jesus Himself proclaimed and provided and what the apostles testified to in Biblical revelation. Jesus Christ alone is ‘the way and the truth and the life’ (John 14:6).” Amen and Amen!
“My Hope Is In The Lord” Video The Talleys
“He Hideth My Soul” Video The Haven of Rest Quartet
“We Have An Anchor” Video Robin Mark
“Safe” Video Phil Wickham
“My Hope is in You” Video Aaron Shust
‘Something Beautiful/Got Any Rivers/Jesus Never Fails” Video Billy and Paula Speer Today as we were reading the messages for the podcast an old song came to mind with the line “God specializes in things thought impossible”
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