Never Lose Hope
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:5-6 (NIV)
How do you respond when the doctor’s report isn’t what you were expecting or the wayward child you’re praying for shows no sign of returning to the Lord? What do you do when the bills are due and the only thing you have is another interview with little hope of getting a job? You’ve heard all things are possible with God, so you pray and ask God to change your situation. But things aren’t getting better, and at times, seem to be getting worse. What is God up to? Are you doing something wrong and preventing God from pouring His blessings upon you? You would certainly do anything to change the situation! If you just knew what to do.
When we don’t get answers to our prayers, God speaks through His Word. Our specific situation will likely not show up on the pages of Scripture, but we can see God’s heart and get a glimpse of the way He works. In Genesis 15, God made a covenant with Abram. Abram was childless and without hope of ever having his own heir unless God chose to intervene with a miracle. And that’s exactly what God did. He promised Abram he would have a son. But that’s not all! God promised Abram’s offspring would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. After this promise, time began to pass with no miracle in sight. Month after month, Sarai’s pregnancy tests came back negative. She began to question God and decided to take matters into her own hands. Sarai convinced Abram to sleep with her Egyptian slave Hagar in and effort to “help” God provide an offspring for Abram.
Waiting is one of the most difficult things for us to do in the instant gratification culture in which we live. But we can learn an important lesson from Sarai. It’s better to wait on God and trust His plan than to suffer the consequences of decisions that may only make things worse. I love sitting by a fire snuggled up with a warm blanket on a stormy day as I listen to the rain and wind outside. I’ve discovered when I find myself in a storm and painful circumstances are blowing against the hope in my heart, the best thing I can do is be still and wrap myself in the truth of God’s Word. And as I wait upon Jesus to still the storm, I’m actually able to enjoy the storm. Waiting and praying are our most powerful weapons.
Are you waiting on God? Have you been asking God to change your circumstances? I want to encourage you not to lose hope. Even though it may appear God isn’t paying attention, you can be certain He is working all things out for your good and His glory. God is working in your waiting. He has a plan, and when you put your hope in God, you will find the grace to wait. Resist the temptation to intervene. Ask God to give you the strength to wait even when you don’t see answers to your prayers. The waiting often brings us the peace only God can give. He alone can bring calm in the midst of a storm.