“I hoped and prayed … and it didn’t happen.” I read those words from a friend and instantly felt the draining emotion of that message. I prayed so hard and nothing. Anyone who has built up hope, worked toward something, and lived in anticipation of it knows the empty feeling left behind when the result is nothing. I’ve been there; have you ever felt the unsettled, discontent of unfilled hope. Even if you are a “glass is more than half full’ person, it feels like the glass has been pierced and all the good stuff has drained away. When I have days like that – or weeks – I remember Job. His catastrophes happened thousands of years ago, but his emotion of loss was the same. In Job 6:8 he prays “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for…” Can you imagine the hopes of Job? Keep reading and it becomes evident that Job was weary. Job 6:11 “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?”
It’s so easy to look at circumstances and lose perspective. Looking outside at what we didn’t get is a like a wide snare waiting to trip us up so we push all the positive things to the outer edges and live in the swirl of defeat. Just say no! Ask God to show you how to replace the feelings of loss with new inspiration for escaping despair. All God asks is that we be willing to be willing. 2Corinthians 4:16 talks about that “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Do not lose heart. Reach out in expectation being absorbed in hope and comforted by it. Take a step forward to get back on track with plans ahead. 2John 8 “Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.” You might feel rewarded even today, but if not today, then don’t lose hope. 2Corinthians 4:1 explains that “through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” We each have a ministry and a purpose. We can’t live for ministry while we live in defeat. Hebrews 3:13 has some wise advice for us “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today.”
It’s Today, my friends. Let’s build each other up, encourage one another. Let’s keep discouragement from entering and gaining a foothold. I ran across a similar topic in Ephesians 4. Toward the end of the chapter are some instructional words. “Do not give the devil a foothold. …Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Psychologists tell us that those of us who have brains and have the ability to think ahead and make choices are the ones who take the path of least resistance. We gravitate toward doing what’s easiest. Losing hope and becoming discouraged are easiest. Let’s gain new insight, stronger resolve, and do not let the enemy of our souls win this battle. Ready for a little more from Job? Highlights from Job 11. “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.”
Ready for today? Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”
Let’s get out there! Let’s go to the rock!