31 Days of Hope Day 12
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV
These days as I have sat for hours in the hospital or doctor’s office with my wife I have felt anything but strong; and not courageous at all. I have felt overwhelmed, weak and alone. We often look to the Bible character of Joshua as a tremendous example of courage but I wonder if as Joshua was mourning the loss of his friend and mentor Moses if he felt alone/ I wonder if as he faced the daunting task of leading a million or more of the children of Israel into the promised land if he felt weak at the knees. Could Joshua have felt afraid? I believe he did! What other reason would God have come and commanded him not once, not twice but three times to be strong and courageous?
If like me, you are facing life changing events that are out of your control then know that we have hope this morning not in our own bravery and muscular faith, but in God’s unfailing strength and His promise to be with us. We can draw courage from the eternal and unshakable promise that the enemies we face are no match for our God! He is not at all surprised by our weakness. He is not impatient with our faltering steps. But like a good father teaching His child to walk in faith He stretches out His arms today and calls. Take another step! You can do it! Be strong and be very courageous: I will be with you!!
31 Days of Hope – Day 12
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:6-7
Whether you are facing life from inside the four walls of a nursing home or the four walls of your apartment or house our need for God’s help doesn’t change. There are hours we all pass through when we have lost patience and through tears of frustration hope seems far away. But God’s presence and promise to take care of us as our shepherd and provide for our needs hasn’t changed.
At that very moment when we can feel the dark shadows closing in around our world God stands close and anxiously waits for us to leave our anxieties and needs at His feet. He will not stop caring for us when the cares of life press in. He will not abandon us when we feel alone. He hears our worried thoughts and listens to our prayers. He stands ready to come to our aid. He has not failed, forgotten us or written us off. Our great Savior guides us through every night and carries our hope in His hands.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
“How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives”
Go the lines from the Gaither song “Because He Lives” The sweetness of holding a baby is nowhere seen more powerfully than in a nursing home. Sadly there are few people willing to bring their babies in so the staff provides lifelike dolls for the residents to cradle. They gently rock their baby and their faces light up with smiles. It is almost as if God has built into us a response of hope for the future every time we see a tiny baby.
But our hope for the future is not based on babies, or baby dolls. True eternal hoe is based on the promise of God’s word. Whether sitting in a nursing facility or standing in a cap and gown waiting to graduate from high school our future hope is always in the love of God. His plans for us are to give us hope. His plans for our future are always for our good. We can trust Him to our final breathe here on earth, knowing that in a moment we will be breathing in our first breathe of heaven!
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV
For residents in a nursing home life can sometimes feel like a place of total defeat. You can see it in the stooped shoulders or hear it in the angry reactions to small annoyances. In our own home as we are passing through my wife’s battle with cancer I am finding myself facing the same struggles. I feel like a rowboat caught in the tidal wave of serious illness and family turmoil. That is exactly the situation which the disciples faced as the accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus had asked them to pray with him for one hour; but the Bible tells us that
And when He rose from prayer He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow. Luke 22:45
They were overcome by sorrow, but not their master. Jesus had prayed till His sweat fell like drops of blood. Jesus had continued interceding even when they felt defeated. In the same way He is interceding in heaven for you and I today. Neither our sorrow nor our despair will cause Him to abandon us. He will come and awaken us. He will carry our burdens. He chose in that dark garden to pay the full price for our sin to give us hope. It is that hope which lies behind the cry:
O Grave where is your victory? Death where is your sting? 1 Corinthians 15:55