How to Regain a Hope-Filled Perspective
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.” Isaiah 43:18 (NLT)
“Show me your last cool trick!”
With this phrase, my kids knew the time had come to dry off at the swimming pool. They also knew this was their moment to show off and shine. Underwater flips transformed into twirling handstands. Cannonballs became an opportunity to go for gold at the Olympics. I could always expect that the “last cool trick” from yesterday would pale in comparison to what they’d perform today.
Watching my kids made me realize that sometimes I fear God has done His last cool trick in my life. Discouragement convinces me that my best days lie behind me — or that my situation is too complicated or insignificant for God to intervene and do something new.
Sure, God still does great things in other people’s lives, just not mine.
Maybe you’ve thought something similar. Perhaps God healed you several years ago, but the health crisis staring you down now makes you doubt God could ever do that miracle again. Or maybe God showed up years ago in your marriage in some wondrous way, but fear whispers: That was then, and this is now.
When doubt limits our belief about what God can do in the future, we risk developing the same mentality as the people to whom Isaiah prophesied. During the Babylonian captivity, the Jews lived in a foreign land with adversaries who dragged them more than 1,600 miles away from Jerusalem. Yet God gave them a message of hope because He wanted to lift their eyes beyond their current situation.
The Jewish captives had become stuck in the past. For centuries, they dwelled on the parting of the Red Sea and couldn’t imagine God doing anything more spectacular. (Isaiah 43:16-17; Exodus 14:21-30)
But God wanted to turn their gaze toward the future. Reflecting on this miraculous event, God declared, “forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do” (Isaiah 43:18). Why would God want them to forget one of the most powerful miracles in their exodus from Egypt?
Because God had something new for them!
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19, NLT)
Even when our situation and future look as dry as desert sand, we can remember that, for generations, God has specialized in doing a new thing in wastelands. Fear should never hold hostage our hope. Our situation will change. God will never abandon us.
This week, pay attention anytime you place a lid on a household item: the coffee can, leftovers, the crockpot. Ask yourself, Where am I putting a lid on my faith?
We can regain a hope-filled perspective by remembering that God’s response to us remains the same today as to the ancient Israelites. God is always doing something new, and we can rest in His proven track record of faithfulness.
Lord, I can relate to the Jewish captives who thought their situation would never change. Thank You for how You’ve worked in my life in the past, and help me remember that my circumstances never limit Your power. Keep reminding me that You care about my situation and You work on my behalf even when I can't see any evidence yet. Please lift my eyes beyond my current situation. Do a new transformative work in me as I trust in Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Ephesians 3:20, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (NLT)
Isaiah 64:4, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” (NLT)
Where has discouragement put a lid on your faith or dampened your sense of divine anticipation?
Take time today to write down one or two verses about God's faithfulness. Let them refresh your soul and lift your eyes beyond your current situation. Then share your favorite verses with us in the comments!
© 2022 by Laura Lacey Johnson. All rights reserved.