February 11, 2013
Dare to Hope
"Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this ..." Lamentations 3:21 (NLT)
Have you ever cried until tears no longer fell and your heart was broken in tiny pieces? Have you uttered, "Everything I hope for from the Lord is lost?" Yes? Then you, me, and Jeremiah make three.
I won't forget those long nights of crying myself to sleep. Some nights, only silent tears trickled; other nights, loud wails accompanied questions and prayers. "Why Lord? What am I doing wrong? Why won't You fix this?" My prayers ended with, "If it is Your will," hoping His will was different than it appeared to be.
Many nights I curled up in a ball under my covers hoping for a break-through. Yet, the situation seemed hopeless; I believed everything I had hoped for was lost.
Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet in the Old Testament, found himself in a hopeless situation too. He watched the Temple of the Lord being burned to the ground by the Babylonians. Jeremiah's heart broke as the elements of the Temple, such as the water basin and lamp snuffers, were stolen, and taken to Babylon to be used to worship false gods.
In the midst of the devastation, Jeremiah prophesied God's words to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Unfortunately, it wasn't good news. The Lord's immediate future for His people was one of discipline and the utter destruction of Jerusalem as well as His holy Temple. Jeremiah was chosen by God to deliver these words to His people. Jeremiah did his job and did it well, but not without punishment, ridicule, insults, and imprisonment by the recipients of the news.
Jeremiah shed tears until he said, "I have cried until the tears no longer come; my heart is broken." (Lamentations 2:11 NLT) His heart was broken for Jerusalem and for God's people, his people. In anguish Jeremiah lamented, "Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost." (Lamentations 3:18 NLT)
Then, in the midst of his despair, he dared. He dared to hope in what he remembered.
Many of us need hope. To find it like Jeremiah did, let's look at what he remembered that gave him the courage to dare to hope again. What Jeremiah remembered was the key to elevating him from the pit of despair to a place of expectancy. It is our key as well. Jeremiah remembered this about the Lord:
• His unfailing love
• His new mercies
• His never-ending faithfulness
• His inheritance
God's Word is just as alive and active today as it was in Jeremiah's day. It is designed to transform us from the inside out. Reading and applying its truths will redirect our perspective.
During my desperate nights I longed for my circumstances to be different. I cried until the tears would no longer come. Many times I tarried in the pit of despair much longer than necessary. But when I remembered God's faithfulness and mercies to me, my hope was renewed.
Did the circumstances surrounding my sorrows change because I remembered God's promises? No. What changed was hope slipped in to my outlook. Hope means to wait with expectation, and this is what I chose to do during those hard nights.
Are you in need of hope today? Will you choose to remember God's faithfulness, love, and mercy, despite the despair and destruction around you? Today, dare to hope.
Dear Lord, I want to dare to hope, but life around me seems uncertain and tentative. Will You help me remember Your faithfulness, love and mercy? Thank You in advance for what You are going to do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
Many years ago, tired of the pace she was keeping, Wendy Pope opened her Bible and read the Psalms, one at a time. Wounds from her past that never properly healed began to mend. The unrest in her heart settled as peace grew roots and doubt turned into trust. Journey through the Psalms with her in her book Trusting God for a Better Tomorrow.
Try reading the Psalms one at a time with Proverbs 31 Ministries' new devotional Bible (NIV). Pre-order your copy by clicking here.
Visit Wendy's blog for more encouragement in finding hope.
Reflect and Respond:
Read Lamentations 3:21-24 aloud. Remember and write down God's expressions of faithfulness, mercy, and love to you. Dare to hope.
Forward today's devotion to someone who needs hope.
What stumbling block keeps you from daring to hope? Remember...
His unfailing love
His new mercies
His never ending faithfulness
Psalm 33:18, "But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love." (NIV)
© 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 11 February 2013.