HOPE WHEN WE FEEL UNWORTHY
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“The God of Hope hopes for us, even us! He never loses hope.
He accepted the word of His beloved Son,
‘They have kept [intently observed] Thy Word,’
in spite of times when they had seemed most grievously to disregard it.
The God of Hope saw what they wished to be, what they were yet to be.
And He looks at us like that.”
THE HEART OF GOD AND THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK
Jesus speaks to His disciples, saying: “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials and I confer on you a Kingdom, just as My Father conferred one on Me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom.” (Luke 22:28-30a) Only a few hours later, Jesus again speaks to His men, but this time with disappointment, speaking in His time of unfathomable anguish: “Couldn’t you men keep watch with Me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)
Yet, astonishingly when Jesus shares with His Father, He tells Him “… they have kept Thy Word” (John 17:6), even while only a short time earlier, there was strife among them as to “which of them was considered to be the greatest.” (Luke 22:24) Can there be anything more human than how these followers in growing faith acted?! Can there be anything more holy than how Jesus continued to hold them in esteem before His and their Father?
Was Jesus naïve? Did He skip over the disciples’ failings while speaking to His Father about them? Certainly not! Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit know all hearts, knowing when the disciples hit the mark and when they didn’t, as clearly as They know when we hit the mark and when we don’t.
So how could Jesus say to His Father that these dear ones “stood by Him in His trials” and that “they have kept His Word” when they were not always on track? (“Couldn’t you men keep watch with Me for one hour?”) What does this mean for us? It means that God, fully Divine, sees us with understanding and is extravagantly patient, gracious, and oh-so-merciful.
GOD GIVES US HOPE WHEN WE FEEL UNWORTHY
The Apostle Paul is an encouraging example for us. On earth, he was a mighty man of God, but he did not see himself as perfect. His strength was that he pressed on by God’s power. Paul tells us in Philippians 3:12: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on….”
God looks at us through the lens of Jesus’ finished work. He sees our failings, but He also knows the deepest parts of our hearts. He recognizes what we long for deep inside and is molding us to become the perfection of His work. He sees us in the light of His love. He is the God Who sees us in the expanse of His eternal Plan as keenly as He sees us in all our moments, even those that disappoint but don’t surprise Him.
What encouragement this is for us! We know our struggles — and we often find ourselves feeling defeated because we know our lives are not even close to what we long for them to be. God’s eternally good plans are established according to His timetable, and in His holy virtue, He makes transformative use of our missteps. He’s that good, creatively genius, and kind!
“For I know the plans I have [already set, established] for you, declares the LORD,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Father, we come to You today with thanksgiving because of Your precious Son and our LORD Jesus. Thank You for inviting us into Your family. Thank You for the abundant goodness You give us — a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over! Thank You for listening to our hearts when we can’t formulate words for all that stirs within us.
Would You please raise hope in us, so our hearts can grow to more fully trust You? We look to You, for there is no other who can accomplish that which matters into eternity, which is by far what matters most. As King David humbly prayed that he would “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13), may we also see Your goodness in our lives now with greater awareness.
Thank You for hearing us. Please work in our lives that which gives You great glory. Help us to understand with more surety that You walk before and beside us, and that You affectionately hold us in Your mighty and tender embrace. Amen.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- Do you wrestle with discouragement and/or shame regarding your Christian walk? If so, ask the Holy Spirit to fortify your heart with the truth of God’s steadfast love and His desire to help you.
- Does looking at the humanness of Jesus’ disciples and Paul give you hope that in spite of their slip-ups, God loved them mightily and used them for His glory and for the benefit of many?
- Hope is a powerful grace and it builds faith. What is one hope you can talk to the LORD about today?
Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer
Melody is an imperfect woman loved by our perfect God. She longs for others to share the same intimacy she has with Him, knowing and experiencing Him as tender-hearted and relational. Melody lives in the scenic Texas Hill Country and has a beautiful God-given daughter and son-in-law who reside in California with their two adorable rescue dogs named Courage and Wonder. Learn more about her new book: Loved One: An Invitation to Feel God's Love and to Experience His Desire to Be Your God-Sized Help.
Photo by: Christine Lee Smith Photography
Called to Hope
Jesus is the enduring, timeless, and everlasting hope who came to seek, serve, call, forgive, rescue, redeem, and save.