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Friday, December 23, 2016

Family Friday: Having Hope When All Seems Hopeless - Part 1

Terri Cannon
Pastor's Wife
Hope Baptist Church
Bettendorf, IA

Having Hope When All Seems Hopeless

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4

I wasn’t always a middle-aged grandmother. Long ago, when dinosaurs walked the earth, I was a 13-year-old girl who thought all was lost. My mother suffered from serious mental illness. From the time I was eight until I was nineteen, she spent more time in mental hospitals than she did at home with us. I was the oldest of five children and it fell to me to care for them. Don't get me wrong, I love them all dearly, but children aren't the best choice for raising other children. As I entered puberty, I faced not only the usual fears and struggles of a 13-year-old girl, but I faced those things alone with more responsibilities than many grown women shoulder. I thought all hope was lost. I'd been in church since I was two. I had been saved when I was only five. I had surrendered my life to the will of God shortly after I turned eight. It was only my relationship with the Lord that carried me through. Since that time, I have experienced many trials during which I found myself clinging to the Lord.
I want to give you 6 things that will help you have hope, when all seems hopeless.
* It’s okay, and even a good thing to cry.
* Keep God real.
* Remember all the good things God has done.
* Be mindful of the good things in your life and don’t focus on the bad.
* Look for something everyday to remind you that God loves you.
* Look to the future.

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."
Psalm 42:11

First I want to tell you. It's okay to cry!

"Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?"
Psalm 56:8-11
It's even a good thing to cry unto the Lord. He wants to comfort you. It's a good thing physically because a good cry washes stress out of your body.

"My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God."
Psalm 56:8-11

The Lord is with you even when everyone else has left. He wants us to throw ourselves into His loving care and pour out our grief. Because He cares for you so much that He knows how many hairs are on your head. 

"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."
Matthew 10:30

Sometimes we get to thinking that tears are a sign of weakness. They are not. They are a sign of grief and the strongest among us suffer grief. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us we can break down and cry. I'm telling you it's okay. As a 13-year-old girl, I had a place in the back of my closet where I would curl up and imagine that God was holding me in His lap and I would cry while He held my heart.

So first, when all seems hopeless, go ahead and cry. You'll feel better. The Lord is waiting to hear from you.

The next and one of the most important things to maintain hope is to remember to Keep God Real!
This is one of the hardest ones, because when all seems hopeless, the devil wants us to think that God is a fairytale—He’s not really there. If you begin to doubt God, you will lose hope. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Hebrews 11:6

"But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works."
Psalm 73:28

Some ways to keep God real are:
* Walk with God, page after page, verse after verse, day after day.
* Read your Bible according to a plan. Read a Proverbs every day and complete the thought: “A wise woman will . . ."
* Keep a prayer list and check off answered prayer

A close, real relationship with a real God will give you hope regardless of the circumstances. Keep Him real!
When all seems hopeless, Remind yourself of all the good things God has done!
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s."
Psalm 103:2-6

His benefits are numberless! Every last one of us has so much to thank the Lord for. Even in the depths of trials, God has given us breath. That is a blessing! Do you have someone who loves you? A friend? A sister? A parent?

Did you eat today? Are you clothed? We have so much that we take for granted. God had done GREAT things for you! When all seems hopeless, take your mind off of the bad and think on Him.

"For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness."
Psalm 107:9
Along with reminding yourself all the good things God has done you must Be mindful of the good and don't focus on the bad! 

Next week, we will continue this thought.

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