What are the foundational truths upon which you base your life? How do you find hope when the storms of life erupt? An international leader in the Christian faith and founder of Encounters Network, James Goll, recently posted an encouraging synopsis of his book Finding Hope - Rediscovering Life After Tragedy. Mr. Goll knows what it is like to be on the battle front. For nine years he fought aggressive cancer. In the midst of his battle his wife of 32 years lost her own battle with cancer and "graduated to Heaven."
How do we keep going when the dark clouds seem to overwhelm us? There is a key truth that we must settle in our minds in order to move forward with hope. This is what James Goll says: "No matter what comes, God is good. He doesn't stop being good when my life falls apart...I had to settle a major issue in my journey. God is good, period! Each one of us needs to ask the Holy Spirit to graft that truth into our souls."
To help remember the truth of God's goodness, James would regularly pray the prayer from Ephesians 1:18. "I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened, so that I will know the hope of Your calling." It is only through the eyes of our hearts that we can see things from God's perspective, and see with hope. The Word of God is filled with promises that are meant to give us His perspective and fill us with hope. Let's look at three of them:
Isaiah 42:3 - "A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice." The verses in Isaiah 42 that precede and follow this one are about God's chosen Servant, Jesus, who was brought to earth to demonstrate God's love and righteousness. Just as the sun is behind every cloud ready to break out into glorious light so is our Savior ready to help and redeem.
Lamentations 3:21-23 - "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Jeremiah saw a ray of hope in all the darkness that surrounded him. The Life Application Study Bible (NLT) says it this way: "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease." The Psalmist puts it like this: "Surely goodness and mercy/love shall follow me all the days of my life..." (Psalm 23:6) God has a plan; nothing catches Him off guard. He will restore and bless.
Psalm 46:1-7 - "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her in the break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah."
God is our eternal refuge in the midst of darkness, chaos and destruction. He is among us providing for our needs, ready to help us when we come to Him. God's Holy Spirit flows like a river, guiding us and infusing us with hope. We are beginning a new year. If we look at what is happening around us with natural eyes we may feel insecure. Use your spiritual eyes. Ask God to enlighten the eyes of your heart.
Bring hope to the forefront by declaring the foundational truth that God is good all the time. Jesus, the Son of God, our Savior, breaks through the storms of life offering hope for the future. He is the Servant of God, the Lord of Compassion, our Strength, Refuge and Fortress. May God's love and blessings overtake you in 2016.
Joan E. Mathias