If you have gone to church for any length of time, you have probably heard the verse in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."
It was the focus of my Bible study, The Shelter of God's Promises, this morning. It's one of my favorite verses and in one season of my life, I seemed to bump into that verse everywhere I went. It was a bit disconcerting, to say the least.
The idea that God has for me a hope and a future is thrilling, but, like many of you, I am doing a bit of waiting on my plan to come to full fruition. Sometimes, I grow weary and discouraged with that wait. (did I mention I'm not a very patient person?)
The thing is, we often have our hope in things other than God. Things like talents, abilities, jobs, or a person or people. We can even get hung up placing our hope in good things like family or the church, but those things are made up of imperfect humans, so we are sure to be disappointed. When our hope is in those things or in a person or people, we get weary.
There is a verse that says, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
When we wait on things other than God, we become disheartened. Like the children of Israel wandering in the desert, we start to grumble when things get difficult or if we run into a difficulty. Never mind that God has provided and come through for us over and over in the past. Never mind that He is present with us to lead us. Nope, we look at whatever obstacle that is in our path on our way to our particular Promised Land and want to give up.
Why do we do this?
Because we are hoping in the what we can see - not in what we can't see. And isn't faith the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen?
Instead of grumbling and complaining or sitting down on the side of the road and giving up (which I feel like doing way more than I feel like trusting), I have to make sure my hope is fixed on the Someone who is solid and sure. When my hope rests in the Lord, my strength is renewed and I can keep going.
This doesn't mean I just do nothing. It means I have to follow where He leads. It means I have to trust in Him. It means I have to be obedient to what He asks me to do, even if it doesn't always make sense to my finite human mind.
I found this interesting phrase in a verse in Romans. It set me back on my heels a bit, to be honest. In Romans 14:23 it says, "whatever is not from faith is sin."
This leaves me to ask myself, what am I doing today that is not rooted in faith? Whatever that is - whatever I am clinging to or putting my hope in that is NOT God is sin. Ouch! No beating around the bush or sugar coating it for Paul is there?
So, where who or what is your hope resting on? How's that working for you?
~ Blessings, Bronte