The First and Last Hope


We’re awfully uncomfortable in the place of last resort, but that’s really the place that God wants us—and has wanted us all along.

“All we can do now is pray.” It’s a statement usually uttered when we’ve exhausted all other possibilities, when we’re at the end of the rope and have no other options. It isn’t necessarily a denial of prayer earlier in the process; usually the first approach was prayer-plus-whatever, an appeal to God supplemented by our own resources. Even so, it’s a mistake to see prayer as a last resort or a thin hope. It’s meant to be so much more.

We’re awfully uncomfortable in the place of last resort. We feel so helpless. But that’s really the place God wanted us all along. Our relationship with him is meant to reflect our dependence on him in every area of life. Our crises put us there much more solidly than our places of sufficiency. While we were dreading the day we might reach the end of our rope, God was looking forward to it. It’s the place we cry out to him and experience his provision. He’s the strength in our weakness, the wealth in our poverty, the health in our sickness, the deliverance from our captivity, the comfort in our despair . . . our hope in all things.

When we understand that, we can begin every day, every situation, every crisis with, “All I can do now is pray.” Prayer is the first resort, not the afterthought. And it’s the place we finally trust God for the impossibilities in our lives.

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