In the worst of times, our hope is found in God

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “The power of hope”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him.” Psalm 42:5 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “In the worst of times, our hope is found in God.”
 
In Psalm 42 the writer was depressed. The issues of life were closing in on him and he was struggling. Have you ever been there? Struggling with life issues that seem to never end? One issue gets resolved and a new one rolls right in to take its place? How did you feel? Did you heave an exasperated sigh, slump your shoulders, kick some dirt in disgust, and give-in to despair? Those would be normal human emotions and it would understandable for you to feel that way. For a short time. But it wouldn’t be okay to stay there.
 
One of the leaders in our generation whom I have admired for many years is former Secretary of State and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell. He once wrote a book with the title, “My American Journey”. In it he included a list of life and leadership principles he has used to guide his own life, and which he has taught to many others. That list has come to be known as “Powell’s Principles”. One of those principles reads “I am capable of self-pity, but not for long.” Another is “It isn’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.” And, “Optimism is a force multiplier”.
 
This is what the Psalmist was teaching in Psalm 42. He began by writing about his deep longing to experience God in the middle of his times of struggle. Vs 1-2: “As a deer longs for flowing steams, so I long for you, God. When can I come and appear before God?” He was also realistic about what he was dealing with and how he was feeling. Vs 3: “My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, ‘Where is your God?’”
 
Poor guy. Not only did he feel dejected and abandoned, wondering where God was in the middle of all this, but the people around him were evidently wondering the same thing, “Where is this God of yours while you’re going through all this? Why doesn’t He rescue and deliver you?”
 
It was okay for the Psalmist to be thinking those things and to be feeling that way – for a short time. As long as he didn’t stay there wallowing in it. So, in verses 4-5 we read of him putting on his big boy pants, remembering God’s faithfulness in the past, and resolving to trust Him going forward: “I remember this as I pour out my heart: how I walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God, with joyful and thankful shouts. Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God.”
 
It’s okay to feel bad about bad circumstances. You don’t have to fake it and pretend those things don’t matter. They do matter. Just don’t allow yourself to slip into a pit of despair or to become absorbed by self-pity. When we’re struggling with the issues of life, the right answer is always to turn our eyes upon Jesus and look to Him for help and for hope.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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