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Friday, December 30, 2016

Family Friday: Having Hope When All Seems Hopeless - Part 2

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

Having Hope When All Seems Hopeless

It is in our nature to see the bad. When all seems hopeless, you have to force yourself to look away, especially if the bad is something that you cannot control. Illness can't be controlled. The actions of others can't be controlled. Natural disasters can't be controlled. When those things are overwhelming you, you must find the good and quit dwelling on the bad.
A wise woman taught me to imagine a hedge around myself, don’t look at the gap—look at the protection!
Between December of 2006 and September of 2007, I spent 39 days in the hospital. I was very ill and experienced multiple complications from my surgeries and my treatments. I couldn't control that. Instead of despairing, I learned to be thankful for the marvelous medical treatment that I had access to. If I had not had that care, I certainly would have died. Because I did not dwell on the illness, I laughed my way through the trial.

Two weeks ago, I again found myself hearing the doctors tell me that I could die. But again, I was in a fantastic hospital and as the mother of three young boys— I could sleep whenever I wanted! 
And today, I’m almost fully recovered. If the bad is in the past, keep it there!
I know so many people who suffer because they can't get over the past. You cannot do anything to change what has already happened. If you continually "play the video" in your mind, you will never undo the past, you will only re-live the pain. Put the past where it belongs. Look to the Lord and the future. If you are running a race and looking backwards, you are sure to fall. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2

Another key to keeping hope when all seems hopeless is to remind yourself constantly that God loves you. Look for things to remind you. I love ladybugs. I decided a long time ago that every time I see a ladybug, I would remind myself that God loves me. Then, I surrounded myself with ladybugs. There is not a room in my house that does not have at least one ladybug in it. My little grandson knows about my ladybugs and every time he finds one, he runs to me to tell me about it. And all those ladybugs around me make it impossible for me to forget that God loves me. There is so much hope in that one thought. I have friends who have chosen redbirds, or hummingbirds, or even sand to remind themselves that God loves them. Try it! But above all, remember that God loves you! "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins
I John 4:10

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,"
Ephesians 2:4

Okay, quick review, what are the first 5 things to remember when all seems hopeless?
* It’s okay to cry.
* Keep God real.
* Remind yourself of the good.
* Focus on the good—not the bad.
* Look for something everyday to remind you God loves you. 

And finally Look to the Future!
Remember, this too shall come to pass. Believe me, I know how hard it is to look ahead when the present is so overwhelming. I have been through trials that I was sure would never end, and yet, the sun came up the next morning and I moved on. Know that God is doing a work in you for a purpose. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Philippians 1:6 
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
Philippians 2:13

You may not know this side of heaven what that purpose is, but He is working. Pillow your head tonight with the assurance that the sun will rise in the morning and you will move forward.

So, can you name the six things? Drill them into your head. Trials will come. At some point, all will seem hopeless. 

* It’s okay to cry.
* Keep God real.
* Remind yourself of the good.
* Focus on the good—not the bad.
* Look for something every day to remind you God loves you.
* Look to the future. 

I had no idea why God has let me suffer the things I have suffered. There are some things we will never know. But I do know that I have been able to comfort others. And I can tell you there IS hope when everything seems hopeless. "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."
Psalm 27:13-14

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