No matter how difficult circumstances in the world and in our own lives may be, there is always reason to hope when we turn to the Lord. Consider, for example, the desperate and seemingly hopeless situation Jeremiah describes in the third chapter of Lamentations: “I am the man who has seen affliction because of the rod of His wrath. ...He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. …He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. …He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces; He has made me desolate. He bent His bow and set me as a target for the arrow. ...My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, ‘My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord’” (Lam. 3:1-18).
Could the situation be any worse? And yet, notice how hope wells up as Jeremiah shifts the focus off of the circumstances and onto the Lord: “Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him” (3:20-25).
The reality is, no matter how hopeless our situation may be, there is always hope in the Lord. Because of His mighty power, His great faithfulness, and His abundant compassion and goodness, He is able to bring us through the most desperate circumstances and into the future He has in store for us. He is our hope!
There is Hope for You
If you are in a hard place at this time, consider again the encouragement by Jeremiah: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” The Lord cares not only for His people collectively, but for each individual as well. He cares deeply about you. The very fact that you are reading this message right now about Him is evidence that He is at work in you. He is calling you into a deeper relationship with Himself and into greater participation in His plans and purposes for your life.
Even in the midst of the many troubles, trials, sorrows and uncertainties of life, we have the hope – the certainty – that our God cares for us and that He has the power, mercy and faithfulness to finish the good work which He has begun in us (Phil. 1:6). Turn everything in your life over to Him, and trust Him to work good out of it. “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness” (Psa. 33:18); “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (Psa. 43:5).
There is Hope for Corporate Revival
Because of how great our God is, there is also hope for corporate revival in our churches and in our nation(s). Unfortunately, some Christians have lost hope of any significant stirring of revival because they believe the church is presently on an irreversible course of apostasy and the world on an irreversible course of ever-increasing evil. They preach gloom and doom with little or no prospect of spiritual awakening.
Of course, there is much apostasy in the church and much evil in the world. But this does not preclude the possibility for a significant period of revival. Apostasy and evil have been present in varying degrees since the birth of the church, and yet, the Lord has graciously intervened with numerous seasons of revival. As a matter of fact, it is during periods of apostasy and evil that revival is most needed! This is not the time, therefore, to lose hope for revival, but instead to press in all the more to the Lord for revival!
After all, our God is a God who saves and a God who revives. He is not willing that any perish, but wants all men to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). He desires that as many people as possible be prepared for the Day of His Son’s Coming. And even now He is calling His people around the world to unite in prayer for a great outpouring of salvation and revival. Dave Butts, who serves as the president of the Herald ministry, and also as the chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, recently shared with the Herald staff and volunteers that he is seeing more prayer activity going on this year for revival in our nation than he has ever seen in previous years. The Lord is putting this burden for prayer for revival in the hearts of His people to pave the way for the spiritual awakening He is going to send! Let us not give up hope in our God no matter how terrible the conditions in the church and the world become, but let us seek Him all the more to revive His people and save multitudes in these last days! Our God is able!
A. W. Tozer, in his book I Talk Back To The Devil, writes of saints of God who sought divine fire in their hearts and how they were “always willing to renounce everything worldly in order to possess the treasure buried in the field of their hearts.” He goes on to conclude that whereas some believers today “continue to plod along in dryness…some of us want God’s blessing and God’s stirring and God’s best for our lives at any cost! We have the Saviour’s Word that the Holy Spirit has come to us in our present world. He is mine and He is yours, our sweet possession! No man can set up the rules as to how much you can have of God. The Lord Himself has promised that as far as He is concerned He is willing to keep the candles of your soul burning brightly!”
What could God yet do in our own lives and in the church and throughout the world if we would turn from ourselves and put our hope fully in Him? “Let Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in Thee” (Psa. 33:22).
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon