“Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” —2 Corinthians 11:24-28
Is something missing in your life today? Maybe you’re single and lonely. Maybe you’re married and childless. Maybe you’re in between jobs. Whatever it is, I want you to know there is hope – and not the kind that disappoints (see: Isaiah 49:23 & Romans 5:5).
When I was in my mid-20s, I lost hope rather easily. In fact, it’s quite embarrassing just how ashamed I was in my ever-changing circumstances, unrealized dreams, and unfulfilled longing. But something amazing happened. God answered prayer.
One by one. Prayer by prayer. Job? Check. Career? Check. Education? Check. Health? Check. Relationship? Check. I almost forgot that I had lost hope. Almost.
When I share openly about my broken dreams I am encouraged by others to know that I am not alone. But even in the midst of sharing about the death of my dreams, I want to be careful not to lead any astray. Because…
It may feel and look that way, but I haven’t. I know better. I can look back on my 20s and see God’s fingerprints. His answered prayers. This is why I know not to give up all hope.
Maybe like me, you need to hear that God’s not done with you yet! Listen to this.
The Disciples had walked with Jesus. Literally walked. Side by side they heard His messages and parables. They got extra time with Jesus, and that still didn’t prepare them for the crucifixion.
“But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.” —Luke 24:21
The Disciples were with Jesus and they didn’t get it. Maybe you’re in your 20s and you are losing hope for a mate. Maybe you’re in your 30s and hope isn’t even in your vocabulary anymore. Maybe you’re in your 40s and you’re feeling the pain of being the only one without a child.
I have no idea what you’re still holding out hope about, but I know Jesus is the source. Recently I heard a sermon that showed me what was missing in my life. It was as if a light bulb went off in my head. The reason “we had hoped” is because we lack contentment. Paul explains it best.
“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” —Philippians 4:11-13
Paul knew what it was like to lose hope (if you take a look at his circumstances). So why doesn’t Paul lose hope? Why doesn’t he just give up and stop? Because he knew the secret. He learned contentment through every trial.
Today, may we be encouraged to look through the Scriptures to find our source of hope. Let’s thank God together even if there is something missing in your life.
Dear Dream Giver Jesus, Please help me through this season of feeling like I’m missing out — or that something is missing. Please show me the areas in my life where you already feel that I can’t see! Thank you for opening my eyes today. Amen.
Is something missing in your life, and if so — how do you remain hopeful?