You know that feeling you get when you were hoping for something, or maybe someone promised you something that you were looking forward to, and then all of a sudden it all comes crashing down and is not actually going to happen after all?
That happened to me recently and just when I was coming to accept it, it happened again, and then a third time. It seriously felt like I was getting sucker punched over and over with only enough time in between to gain a little hope again. I kept feeling like I just need to keep fighting, but by the end, I just wanted to give up not only on the situation but on the people involved. I know, super Christ like, huh?
I was sitting there, honestly feeling sorry for myself and weighing in my head how to move forward from there, when my youngest daughter walked in. My sweet little 5 year old with a huge smile on her face and a little piece of paper in her hand. She had made something at school and wanted to show me. I took a deep breath, forced a smile on my face, and asked what it was she made. It was a bookmark with a bible verse on it. Little did I know before reading the verse, that God was about to use my daughter to speak to me. I turned the bookmark so I could read it and it read, ‘“The Lord is my portion” says my soul. Therefore I hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:24. I gave her a big hug as tears came to my eyes at how God was using her in this precise and perfect time to minister to me.
As I’ve continued to ride out this situation, the Lord has once again brought me back to Habakkuk and Psalm 73 to convict me, minister to me, and encourage me. Just as Habakkuk and Asaph had witnessed others doing wrong and it wasn’t fair and it exasperated them, I could relate to their perspectives. Yet as the Lord had said to them and was concluded, He is sovereign, it is good to be in the house of the Lord, and even though things are going badly around us and affect us, we should rejoice and take joy in Him, the God of our salvation who is our portion forever!
I was prompted to do a search on “hope” and began searching through the Psalms. I first came upon Psalm 33:17 where it says, “The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.” I was met with the realization that I had been trying to control the situation and fighting for justice even when I didn’t really have any control. It was creating a false hope that was constantly letting me down over and over.
Next I came upon Psalm 39:4, 7 which says, “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!…And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” I had gotten so wrapped up in the here and now, which it is a big deal but compared to the whole measure of my days, it really isn’t a big deal. I need to keep an eternal perspective and hope in my God.
A few chapters later, was Psalm 42:11, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” This was prefaced by the author questioning whether God has forgotten them and why they go mourning because of the oppression of enemies. Just as all the other authors of the bible who have done the same, it is concluded that regardless of all else, God. When we hope in Him and turn our effort into praising Him who is worthy, there is not room in our hearts and minds for the turmoil anymore. It does have to be something we continually choose to do though, otherwise the waves of our circumstances can yet again overwhelm.
When I saw this next verse in Proverbs 13:12, I initially reverted back to the wrong way of thinking. The verse says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” My flesh thought, “yeah, no kidding, I just want what was promised and it kills me that I was lied to. I just wish I could get what was promised because things would be better.” However, after sitting there reading it over and over, I realized, it’s not as much about what’s making my heart sick as much as it’s that my desire is not aligned properly. Had God shown me that what these people promised was His will? No. Was I certain that it was what absolutely needed? No. Was I putting my hope in it anyway? Regrettably, yes.
I had gotten wrapped up in the details that only affect this specific time, this fleeting timeline at that. Not only will this not matter when I’m in heaven, but it’s robbing me of joy as I desire something that’s not even promised yet put my hope in anyway. It is so hard sometimes to not get sidetracked on the fleeting circumstances, but I think this was a result of not taking the situation to God first. I was praying for the outcome I wanted, but I didn’t stop to think that maybe that outcome wasn’t the one God has for me. Because of that, I set myself up with a false hope and allowed my eyeline to slip down from solely God to the situation and those involved. Even though literally nothing of my circumstance has changed, those involved still did wrong and hurt me and what was promised is still not coming to fruition which will greatly affect me, the object of my hope has changed which in turn has changed my heart. Am I still frustrated at it? Honestly, sometimes yes. But I am hoping and trusting in my sovereign God and I want to praise and worship Him, letting Him change me even if He doesn’t choose to change my circumstances.