TITLE: How to Hope when Life is the Pits. 9/21/17
By Naomi Fata
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Have you had those days when everything seems to be going wrong? Maybe your mom is sick with terminal cancer and you’ve had to take a lot of time off work to sit with her. Amid that your car breaks down and is need of major repairs. Then your spouse is facing a potential layoff at work. When all of life seems to be against you how are you supposed to practice hope?
I believe hope is something that can be cultivated. Over and over I go back to one of my favorite Bible passages “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Hope and faith are linked.
One reason we lose hope is because we are looking at the situation rather than at God’s plan.
Genesis tells the account of Joseph. In chapter 37 Joseph is a young man and God speaks to him through a dream. He promises Joseph that one day he will be ruling over his brothers.
But Joseph did not see the fulfillment of his dream right away.
First, he was sold into slavery when he was 17.
Then, he became a servant in Potiphar’s house for many years (probably about 11)
But Potiphar’s wife lied about Joseph and got him put in prison where he stayed for about 2 years.
Joseph was released from prison because he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and then he was made an overseer in Egypt.
9 years later when he was about 39 his brothers came to Egypt for the first time, but it wasn’t until a few years later that they came back and knew that he was Joseph.
That is at least 24 years between what was promised and when he saw the promise happen. (for more information on the timeline of Joseph)
Through those years Joseph had many trying times – slavery, a new country, and prison. How hard would it have been for him to lose hope?
I’m sure that there were many times when Joseph wanted to give up hope. Perhaps he doubted God’s his interpretation of the dream he had when he was a teenager. As he sat in the prison cell he could have turned his back on God’s promise. But the Bible says that “the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love.” (Genesis 39:21a NLT)
As you think about your own life is there something that God spoke to you about many years ago? Maybe a vision of what he wanted you to do with your life, maybe a dream that he stirred up in your heart. But the years have taken a toll. It could be all similar to the circumstances I mentioned at the beginning of this post – and it seems like life is falling down on you.
Mark Batterson writes in his book The Circle Maker that ‘at some point, most of us stop living out of imagination and start living out of memory. Instead of creating the future, we start repeating the past. Instead of living by faith, we live by logic. Instead of going after our dreams, we stop circling Jericho.’
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