Standing on God's Promises

Standing on His Promises: Hope

“I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place. For I know the plans I have for you”–this is the Lord’s declaration–“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” Jeremiah 29:10b-14a, HCSB

Is hope a vague feeling or a conviction? Where does it come from? Why does its promise seem to stay far off? What is this future and hope that the Lord has planned for me?

Everything in my life, the moments of gladness and satisfaction and the moments of discouragement and defeat, all of these have a purpose… Do you ever hit pause and wonder? Does it always make sense?

We know Jeremiah 29:11 pretty well, don’t we? Use it for inspiration. Comfort. Dare I say that it has almost become cliché?

But what about verse twelve? “You will call to me and come…”

What is God’s plan for my life–the hope and future He has thought out?

“Seek me,” He answers. “Call to me. Find me. I will be found.”

Every moment He ordains is singular in purpose…that I would be driven to Him.

Hope? It’s not a feeling. Hope is a life in His arms.

I am Redeemed

A Redeemer for the Broken

Therefore tell the Israelites: “I am Yahweh, and I will deliver you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and free you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.” … Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor. Exodus 6:6-7, 9 HCSB

Redeem: 1. To buy back 2. To get back, recover, as by paying a fee …5. To set free by paying a ransom Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition

Moses told the Israelites God was about to set them free, and they ignored him. What slave would not want to be set free? What forced laborer, sweating in someone else’s fields, building someone else’s pyramids under the unforgiving Egyptian sun, would not welcome a Redeemer?

One who’d been whipped enough to think he deserved it, called a dog enough to believe it the truth. One who had given up hope. One with a broken spirit.

Has your spirit ever been utterly broken? I’ve had some despairing days, but I’m not sure that I’ve been broken the way these Israelites were. It was the kind of breaking that didn’t spring from a one-time tragedy, but from years upon years of misery.

I know some people who are living that sort of slavery. They are men and women addicted to drugs. They are abused wives, too afraid to leave and too afraid to stay. They are children living in homes crawling with rodents with parents zoned out on the couch, waiting for their next fix.

Broken. Often, they are too miserable to believe there is a Redeemer offering to pull them out of that pit.

And sometimes, the misery can stem from situations a bit less graphic, but none the less hope-numbing. An emotionally – but not physically – abusive childhood. A divorce. A lover being thrown away, after trying so hard to make it work. The drudgery of daily facing a hated job.

Spirit-breakers, all.

As Moses told the Israelites, we should proclaim to all those captives: “God says he is Yahweh, and He will deliver you from forced labor and free you from slavery. He will redeem you with His outstretched arm and take you to be his people, and He will be your God.”

And when we are mired in despair, when we, too are tempted to believe all is lost, we need to remember those Israelites. Their Redeemer came for them, even when they were too broken-hearted to believe he would.

Ours will too.

I am Redeemed

Redeemed: the Anchor of Hope

O Lord, You have pleaded my soul’s cause; You have redeemed my life. Lamentations 3:58, NASB

Plucked from the middle of one of the saddest Old Testament books, this verse flashes as a beckon of hope. A reminder of what is true, even still in the midst of the unthinkable.

I watched the Hunger Games and Catching Fire recently. Set in circumstances most of us consider beyond the realm of possible, I read Lamentations and then think ‘oh, no. Way possible. In fact, it could be so much worse.’ Thinking back on the cruel proposition of Suzanne Collin’s books, I wonder what would I do? How could I hold on to joy? Would faith sustain in such a horrible and heart-crushing arena?

In Jeremiah’s case, it was worse. Things couldn’t get much more so. Starvation, desolation, cannibalism, and utter destruction. Hopelessness colors the backdrop of life. And yet, tucked in the third chapter of Jeremiah’s outcry, we read gems so unbelievable and beautiful that even the most stoic are brought to tears.

This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” (Lam. 3:21-24)

You drew near when I called on You; You said, “Do not fear!” (Lam. 3:57)

In Awana, I recently taught on Moses, the baby in the basket. The take away was this: Life can get ugly. Sometimes things are bad. Really, really bad. Does that mean that God does not see? Does not care?

No. No, it doesn’t. Israel was delivered—redeemed from the enslavement of the Egyptians. But it came through pain. It came through difficulty.

Being redeemed doesn’t mean I get to live on ‘Boardwalk’ for the rest of my life. The easy-peasy life of a Christian is generally an Americanization of Biblical theology. It isn’t promised in the Bible. The promise is this: those whom God has redeemed He will hold. His faithfulness is greater than all the bad in life. Stronger than the worse suffering. He reminds us of His sure redemption and calls us to look to eternity.

That is the anchor of hope.

I am secure

I am Secure: Safe in His Providential Care

time in hand“But as for me, I trust in you, oh Lord… My times are in your hands.”

~Psalm 31:14-15a, NASB

This little nugget of beauty is stuck in the middle of a lament. The verse before ends with “they scheme to take away my life.”

Some wonder how one can live with hope when they are surrounded by despair. Here is the anchor, the hand-hold on truth:  My times are in God’s hands. And this God is mighty in power, gentle in spirit, loving at heart and good in all He does. Though thunder rolls and waves crash and fires blaze all around, my life is kept secure in the immutable hand of God. Things may not make sense from where I stand, but His plan is sure and will not be thwarted.

I often listen to Alistair Begg while I’m on the elliptical at our local YMCA, and this week I went through his series called “my times are in your hands,” which came straight from Psalm 31. I loved what he had to say about this verse, this security.

“I am not trapped in the grip of blind force.”

In other words, my life is not shackled to an ambivalent fate. My life, my everyday living and doing; my past, my present and my future is held fast by the very hands of creation.