I absolutely loving share the hope--the true hope--of life with people. Especially broken people that see no hope. In my previous three blog posts, I've wrote three personal letters to you. Yes, they were to YOU. God wants you to know what He did for you and how much He loves you. So we talked about that.
First, it is crucial to know that our hope is through Jesus (John 3:16). Without him, we were condemned, dead in our sins, and there was no hope (Ephesians 2:1). But he died for you. God sent His Son for you to die for all of your sins, to take your place. Why did He do that? Because He is your Father, and He loves you so much. And we talked all about that here and here.
Then we talked about His plan for you. There is still a plan for you, and it is great, and your work does not go unnoticed. We talked all about that in the third letter.
And all of this is building up to what is to come: the hope. I love exploring all four of those topics, but I really, really love talking about the hope because it's a reminder I need daily.
Each of the four things we've discussed is so crucial to understand. You have to know Jesus died for you, and you need to know God loves you and that He does, in fact, still have a great plan regardless of what you've done in your life.
And regardless of what you've done in your life, this is for you.
Regardless of where you are in your life, this hope can be yours.
Without hope, life is meaningless. So let me encourage you with the hope God has given us in my final letter. To YOU.
There is hope for any situation through God. And He can take even the most broken situation and turn it into something beautiful for His glory and will (Romans 8:28; Isaiah 61:3).
I know I've mentioned this in my earlier letters to you, but I want to bring up this verse again because it reminds us, again, of where our hope really is:
"What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." That is so powerful when you stop and just grasp that concept. That in itself is amazing and gives us so much hope. But maybe you are in a situation that seems there is little to no hope. And oh, who knows what that could be. Maybe you just witnessed the death of a loved one, or your health is failing, or you just feel overwhelmed by the problems in the world, or you feel alone, or you just feel stuck. I don't know what your situation is, but I do want YOU to know that it isn't without hope. How do I know this? Like anything else I've told you, it really doesn't matter what I say. The letter is from me to you, but it's not about what I'm saying; it's about what God is saying.
So what does He say that gives us hope? Well, let me ask you something. Do you love God? Are you in love with Him and have a desire to follow Him? Through Him alone, you aren't without hope. He can take your messed up situation, and I don't care HOW messed up it is, it is not too hard for Him to fix. Romans 8:28 gives you this hope:
God can take your messed up situation and turn it into something for His good. We talked a lot about this in my letter to you over His plan, and I want you to have hope knowing that good CAN come from your situation. I talked a little about this in the first letter that there was a situation I was following, and I talked about how God humbled me through it and how He helped me see people as He does. One thing He also showed me through following that situation is that it is not beyond hope. And this situation is pretty bad. Horrible choices were made. Consequences are going to follow and unfortunately not just for the person who made the horrible choice but everyone who loved him. And now that situation just broke my heart because you look at it, and it just seems like it's done. Nothing good came out of it as far as I can see, just pain. More pain for all the people involved.
If this person repents, if the people involved get their hearts right with God and surrender all their pain because of what happened to Him, I mean wouldn't that be amazing. That would be a beautiful example of God taking something awful and turning it into something good for His glory. And I pray everyday that that would happen. And there are many situations like these; this is just one I've been following and feel the need to pray over. But my point in sharing that with you is that this situation is not without hope, and I wish I could just go talk to these people involved and proclaim that, but until then, I'll pray that God reveals that to them. And I pray that He reveals it to you, whatever your situation may be.
So, I have another question for you. What are you doing in the waiting? It can take awhile sometimes for God's plan to be fulfilled, though for good reason (2 Peter 3:9). So what does God do while you wait? Does He just withdraw from you while He works, leaving you to wonder if He's even there? No, of course not. Just because you can't see the outcome of your bleak situation right now does not mean God isn't working, and it doesn't mean He's left you. In fact, He is with you every step of the way. Please, please, please know that wherever you are, this verse is true for you if you trust in God:
Wow, what an amazing promise. Our God is amazing. So do you know Him? Have you trusted in Jesus to be your Savior? Don't wait! God is with you, and He promises to be your God in that verse. He loves you. So, so much. More than anybody else on this planet ever could.
And that love is being extended to you. Once you realize that His love and only His love can satisfy your deepest longings, that is when you can truly live a joyful life. This next verse is an awesome reminder of that because let me bring up prison again. The reason I bring this up is because (a) the people that surrender to God and live for Him in prison have such beautiful testimonies of God's love and forgiveness, and I've already talked about this in our previous letters, and (b) what I want to add is that people in prison have had a lot taken from them. And if someone is in there under a life sentence or the majority of their life, then what? These were questions I pondered as I thought about, if I had to go talk to a prisoner, how would I encourage them? What could I say to bring them true hope? And this verse came to mind. It doesn't just apply to prisoners; it applies to you. God is the only One who can satisfy.
He will satisfy you. When you are hungry for more in this life, he fills you with good things. You know, I can't tell you how many times I've heard people go on rants about how if they just get XYZ they will be happy, or if they don't get XYZ they won't be content, or their life has no meaning without XYZ. And I'm like, you better be talking about God because if not you're practically an idolater. And that means you are looking for something to fulfill your joy that is not God. And let me tell you something else: it can't just be God AND SOMETHING ELSE. It's not BAD to enjoy things of this world, but you must learn to rely on God and absolutely nothing else of this world for your joy. Not money. Not popularity. Not your hobby. Not your passion. Not your spouse or your boyfriend/girlfriend. Not your best friend. Not your family.
When you have Him and trust in Him alone, it is not bad to enjoy those other things. It becomes sin when you put them ahead of God or even alongside Him. He needs to be FIRST and FOREMOST. He wants the best for you, and that is the best for you. Here's one like it:
And it is what God deserves. This is what He deserves.
And wherever you are at, no matter how upset and broken you feel, God cares (1 Peter 5:7), and He is going to help you.
The Lord is close to you and is going to save you. If you've trusted in Jesus to cover your sins with his blood he shed on the cross, you have been declared righteous (Romans 5:1). The Lord is going to deliver you. You're going to get through whatever pain is hurting you right now. That's a promise from God. Trust in Him to save you.
Here's another. If you've fallen . . . you are going to get up again because God is going to raise you up!
Now let these verses soak in.
If you're tired, God will give you strength. You're going to stumble and fall. Maybe you already have, and your life is a mess because of it. I want you to know that it's not too late. Believe that Jesus died for you, trust him as your Savior. If your hope is in the Lord, your strength is going to be renewed. It's not too late for you--just soak in what those three verses promise.
Here is what Jesus promised you. He may not be physically present with us right now, but he has left you with peace and hope.
And he promises you that he is coming back. And you are never going to lose your joy again.
And this is my prayer for YOU.
I pray that your heart would be encouraged as the verse says. Your hope in God is not misplaced. Wherever you are and regardless of what sins you've committed, if your hope is in God, you're going to be okay because here is what He promises:
And do you want to know what else is amazing? We get all of these ideas in our heads of situations that are hopeless and beyond repair. I've seen myself doing that, even in the situation I described earlier. But WHY do we put limits on God? He is GOD! Listen to this . . .
He "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." Wow. I just think of that situation, and there are many like it, but this one is definitely one that pops into my head when I think of a sad, sad situation. But I think of that because there are days when I hear on the news more about it, and it gets me down and discouraged. I remember when I first learned about it how upset I was. And there are days where I think nothing good will come of it. I thought it sucks, but that's life. And then I think of this verse. "Able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." That is not just for me. That is for this situation too. That is for you.
Sometimes I get this ridiculous idea in my head that there's just too many situations for God to handle, and I get discouraged and think about not even continuing to pray for it. Well first of all, there I go again putting limits on God, and do I really need to repeat that phrase for the fourth time? I will because I really, really want it to encourage you like it has for me: He "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." I really believe that God is going to do that for this situation and many others in my life. I have no idea how. I just know He will because He cares as much about that situation as He does for one in my life. And I found this quote by A. W. Tozer that gave me great comfort, and it is true.
That's so awesome. Put your hope in the Lord.
That is addressed to Israel, but the Lord will never change (Malachi 3:6), and He demonstrated how true that is for us through Jesus. And He is faithful forever! That is such a glorious truth! Let me just reiterate how awesome our God is. Words cannot even begin to describe His majesty.
I want this verse to also encourage you that your hope in God is not misplaced.
Don't be afraid. God is your hope now and forever.
Whatever situation you're in, don't be afraid. God will never leave you.
Your joy comes from Him alone. Your hope comes from Him alone. Rest in all of these verses found in all four of these letters. And to end, remember this:
You are forgiven, my friend. God loves you more than you can comprehend. He has such a great plan for you, and you have so much hope through Him that is coming and will never end. Please realize this no matter where you are no matter what you've done because God loves you so much. He will revive you. And please know that I am praying for you as you read this.
Finally, I want to tell you something else. Once you find this hope and love and forgiveness through Jesus, please don't keep quiet. Go write your own letters to people. Preach God's Word boldly. Truthfully. Unashamedly. And always with love. You've just found the ultimate cure for death, and Kirk Cameron had a great quote I want to share:
Amen! As Matthew 5:16 says:
What do I pray for you for? Honestly, I pray that you would see the hopelessness of life. That is, without God. And sometimes you have to fall for that to happen so that you can see God is the only one you need. Here's another quote I love:
That is true, and it's something I learned the hard way, but I'm so thankful God revealed it to me like that. And here's another one:
That's what I pray over hopeless situations. I say, God, You've allowed it for a reason. Now let those people discover that You are the rock. That's what I pray for you.
You're going to have pain. Frustration. Sorrow. Anxiety. Self-hatred. Confusion. All of it. But Jesus will take it away. He said in John 7:38 living waters will flow from your heart. And then I saw a quote that said grace means your mistakes have a purpose instead of shame. They do. Learn from them. Repent of them. Then go share that good news. Don't beat yourself up about it; trust that Jesus died for you and your sins. And here's one more by A. W. Tozer:
You're not under sin anymore but grace (Romans 6:14). Seek the things of God. Follow Him all the days of your life and shine your light. Go share these truths and the glory of God.
Because all glory to Him. Thank you very much for reading my letters to you. Go praise God. Live your life for Him and Hime alone, and to do that, read more about pursuing a relationship with Him here. Read your Bible everyday for nourishment for your soul. You are not going to get your hope anywhere else. I also encourage you to find a church with true Christians dedicated to living for God to encourage you. Fight your sin everyday. Shine His light. And I will pray all of these things over you. I will pray for a powerful transformation in your life where you start hating the things of this world and hating sin. Don't flirt with sin--keep your eyes on God and work everyday to obey Him.
This is just the beginning of the amazing hope we have in Him. It starts now and ends never.