October 1, 2010
Dare to Hope
"Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this."
Lamentations 3:21 (NLT)
Have you ever cried until the tears would no longer come and your heart was broken in tiny pieces? Have you ever uttered, "Everything I hope for from the Lord is lost?" Then you, me and Jeremiah make three.
I won't ever forget those long nights of crying myself to sleep. Some nights only silent tears would fall; other nights loud wails accompanied questions and prayers. "Why Lord? What am I doing wrong? Why won't you just fix his problems?" The prayers would end with "if it is Your will," hoping that His will was different that what it appeared to be.
On these nights I would curl up in a ball under my covers, face the wall and hope this time there would be a break-through in my prayers. Many nights, as I cried myself to sleep, I believed everything I had hoped for was lost and the situation was hopeless.
Jeremiah, also known as the weeping prophet, found himself in a hopeless situation as he watched the Temple of the Lord being burned to the ground by the Babylonians. His heart broke. The elements of the Temple such as the water basin and lamp snuffers were stolen, taken to Babylon to be used to worship false gods.
Jeremiah prophesied God's words to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 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. He did his job and did it well, but not without punishment, ridicule, insults, and imprisonment.
Jeremiah cried until no more tears would come (Lamentations 2:11, NLT). His heart was broken for Jerusalem and for God's people, his people. In anguish he lamented the words, "Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost" (Lamentations 3:18, NLT).
Then, out of the midst of his despair, he dared. He dared to hope in what he remembered.
Many of us know someone who needs hope; perhaps we ourselves need hope, therefore it would serve us well today to know what Jeremiah remembered. What he remembered as he lamented gave him the courage to dare to hope again. The remembrance changed his perspective on his present situation. Jeremiah dared to hope and so can we, regardless of our circumstances. In reading Lamentations 3:21-24 you can hear the expression in Jeremiah's "voice" change from that of lament to that of optimism. In your mind's eye you can picture his facial features transforming. 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 his covenant Lord:
God's Word is alive and active. It is designed to transform us from the inside out. Reading and applying its truths will change the expression in our voice and redirect our perspective for the future. 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 expression changed.
Did the circumstances surrounding my sorrows change because I remembered? No. What changed was 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 His faithfulness, love, and mercy despite the despair and destruction around you? Will you dare to hope?
Dear Lord, I want to dare to hope but life around me seems uncertain and tentative. Will You help me dare to hope? Will You help me remember Your faithfulness, love and mercy? Thank You advance for what You are going to do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
What to do in the W.A.I.T: Finding Contentment in God's Pauses and Plans (CD) by Wendy Pope
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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 devotions to someone who needs hope.
What is my biggest stumbling block that keeps me from daring to hope?
What is an area of my life in which I need to dare to hope?
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)
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