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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Living in the Presence of Hope

By Larry Bradshaw
July 11, 2010

People go from day to day for years, not realizing their lives are on a collision course with hopelessness. Often, they don’t even see it approaching. They wake up one day and discover that their joy isn’t as intense. Energy levels have decreased. Life is viewed negatively. Others notice a change, but the hopeless ones are afraid to admit it for fear of what would be discovered. With blinders on and a clear view of themselves obstructed, they shut out their closest friends and family. 

Does this describe you? To navigate your way out of the pit of hopelessness and into renewed hope, you’ll have to be honest about what you see in your own mirror. See if these words describe you: hopeless, disheartened, desperate, distressed, anguished, unhappy, despondent, depressed, melancholy, miserable, defeated, pessimistic.

If you have abandoned hope, lost heart or the will to fight, lost faith, or resigned yourself to fate, then perhaps you’re living in hopelessness.

Now, before you throw in the towel, hold on! God has good news.

I have experienced hopelessness personally. I was a combat veteran who served two tours in the Vietnam War. While I served as a pastor for the next 37 years, I spent years teetering on the edge of, or completely knocked down into, the pit of hopelessness. Much of my adult life was spent wrestling with this feeling. But God provided a pathway to hope.

Hopelessness is not a life sentence. You are not incarcerated in a hopeless life. Satan would love for you to become disillusioned and give up. God desires to change the language of your heart so that hope is renewed.

Recognize Jesus as the source of life
It has been said that all of us have a “God-shaped vacuum” only He can fill. Ever since the fall of man, people have done all they can to fill their lives with everything that appeals to the flesh.

The apostle Paul said: “When you were dead in your sins ... God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins ... he took it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13,14, NIV). Paul went straight to the heart of man’s problem: We were dead in our sin, separated from God. However, we were made alive with Christ.

How is it possible that our sins can be forgiven and death be transformed into life? Life is possible because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is your source of life (John 1:4).

You cannot climb from the pit of hopelessness and live in real hope until you experience the forgiveness Jesus offers. First John 1:9 says when we confess our sins, God not only forgives us, but also purifies us.

Recognize Jesus as the source of hope
What anchors you as you navigate the swift current of life’s events? If your anchor is in your possessions, education or employment, your anchor cannot hold. Your life’s anchor must be placed in Jesus, who is sure, immovable and safe. The writer of Hebrews said, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10). That’s positive, hopeful, sure. These are not empty words, but words born out of experience.

What is your impossibility? What is your hopeless situation? Jesus is your living hope!

The psalmist David said, “My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. ... I shall not be moved” (Psalm 62:5,6, Amplified Bible).

Recognize Jesus as the source of joy
Real, lasting joy is found in the presence of the Lord. The Psalmist said, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence” (Psalm 16:11, NIV). Read through the Psalms, and you’ll discover that David was fully acquainted with despair. Yet, David knew his source of victory and had confidence that God knew where he was, what his needs were, and that he could find joy in the Lord’s presence.

David recognized that God guides. “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me” (Psalm 16:7). He acknowledged that God guards. “Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (16:8). He knew that God is the source of gladness and security, and he would not be abandoned. “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me” (vv. 9,10).

Recognize Jesus as the source of your strength
“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Jesus, as your source of joy, is your source of strength. If you lack the strength to stand, the joy of the Lord becomes your strength. If you feel hopeless, the joy of the Lord is your strength. Where do you find the joy of the Lord? Psalm 16:11 tells us, “You will fill me with joy in your presence.” Being in God’s presence allows us to experience both the joy and the strength of the Lord.

Hopelessness is not a life sentence!

LARRY BRADSHAW and his wife, Faith, have ministered in the Assemblies of God since 1970. As a disabled veteran, he has begun Living in Hope ministry in an effort to reach those who suffer from trauma and PTSD.

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