Reason to Hope

Reason To Hope

“Oftentimes, the surest way to succeed in the midst of a trial is to accept the fact that everything that comes to the life of the humble and faithful servant of God is from His own hand. Once the assurance is gained that God knows exactly what He’s doing, one can rest in the fact that it is a shared trial, in the clearest sense. When we see Him in the furnace with us, then we’ll begin to see the doorway to deliverance into a new realm of freedom and liberty.”
(Mile Markers Devotional/September 7)

I have a copy of the Mile Markers Devotional book on my kitchen table. Not every morning but often I read the devotional thought for the day before I eat breakfast.

This may seem strange, if not somewhat egotistical, to read my own writings, but I do this for a couple reasons.
First of all, after writing 365 devotional thoughts, I can’t remember all that I wrote so I like to refresh my memory.
Secondly, and more importantly, I like to consider my family and friends, who are reading the book daily and think about how the present devotional thought might impact their lives.

On September 7 when I read the aforementioned devotion, we had only recently learned that Linda’s cancer had “blossomed” in her liver. Blossomed was the term her oncologist used.

This hit us pretty hard. We’ve been at similar junctures in our 37 year battle against this disease, but this was “new territory.”

Linda was immediately taken off the treatment she had been on and placed on a newer and stronger immunotherapy/chemo treatment. She’s handled this new treatment quite well, all things considered. She has not been nauseous or sick, thank the Lord! She has lost her beautiful white hair (at least most of it) and deals with episodes of fatigue and unsteadiness at different times in the cycle of treatments. As I write this letter, she’s feeling pretty good and mentioned that perhaps we could go out this evening for some good Italian food.

I share this information for a couple reasons. We want to update you on our situation and ask for prayer. So many have prayed through the years and continue to make inquiries regarding Linda’s health.

In addition and of equal importance is the realization that many of you also have perhaps received some alarming news, suffered some significant loss, or maybe feel yourself slowly drifting toward some degree of hopelessness.

And it is here I hope to offer some encouragement. Immediately after I read that devotional thought on September 7th, I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me from within to not only think, but to speak out loud to myself, “We have more reason to hope than we have to fear!”

Join with me right now; put your name and situation in the “blank space” (as they say) and say it out loud to yourself and to any or all who might need to hear: “WE HAVE FAR MORE REASON TO HOPE THAN WE HAVE TO FEAR!”

On what basis, you may ask. On the basis of the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word.

“For all the promises of God in Him (Jesus) are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
I like the NASB rendering of this verse: “For as many as the promises of God are, in Him they are yes; therefore through Him also is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”

“As many as the promises of God are…” How many promises does God make in scripture? I could here begin to make an exhaustive list of all the promises of scripture. I have neither time nor space. However, I encourage you to consider searching scripture and making just such a list.

This verse is not proposing or promoting the idea (as many false teachers have) that the outcome to your prayers will be realized just the way you desire.

Remember, the Lord promises that, “In this world you will have tribulation.” The Psalmist, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous…” Paul, the apostle, writes, “But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance…”

Tribulation, afflictions, and suffering are also promises of God from scripture. Wouldn’t that be a popular sermon title!
But, it’s true. 2 Corinthians 1:20 is saying that all God’s promises are sure. You can count on them absolutely. Tribulation is sure, but so is the promise that we can “take courage” because Jesus has overcome the world, from whence come our tribulations. Afflictions are sure, but so is the promise that He will deliver us out of all our afflictions, in this life or the next. Suffering is sure, but so is the promise of perseverance, character, and hope that suffering produces”…because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

The Yes, in 2 Corinthians 1:20, is the absolute surety that all that has been promised by God in scripture will be experienced by every true believer.

The Amen in that verse, which we often think of as merely an end word to our prayers, is actually, “so be it.”

We have presented our bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), right? We are crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), right? We have died, “…and our life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3), right?

Then, come what may, we can say: “Amen (so be it) to the glory of God through us.”

Does this mean we don’t or shouldn’t ask for help, healing, deliverance, and on and on?

No, of course not. He bids us come and make all our requests known. (Philippians 4:6-7) “Come boldly (or with confidence) before the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need” (Hebrews 4:16).

“Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you (I Peter 5:7).

Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking (Luke 11:9).

Remember in that September 7 devotional it spoke of a “shared trial”? It really is. He’s always in “the furnace” with us. He knows our needs before we know what to ask. And, the writer of Hebrews assures us that He, as our high priest, is literally “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.”

All of His promises are sure. Every one of them! They are the Yes. We are the Amen, or so be it, to the glory of God through us.

Always remember: God does His best work in our worst times. “In our weakness, His strength is perfected.” The ropes that bound those three Hebrew boys were loosed in the furnace, not outside of it.
The furnace being heated, the dark clouds gathering on the horizon, and the pronouncement of some bad news can all initiate fear, but…we have far more Reason to Hope!