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TAKING HEART WHEN THERE IS NO HOPE!

A sixteen year old country boy was walking in a forest when he encountered a bear.  The bear sniffed the wind for a moment and gave chase.  The boy ran and ran, and as he ran he prayed, “Dear God, help me, help me, help me; and if you won’t help me, please, please don’t help that bear!”  The Bible tells us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  Psalm 46:1 promises us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Christians know that there are times when we need the kind of help only God can give.

Acts 27 finds the apostle Paul in a crisis situation.  He is on board a ship on a storm-tossed sea.  According to the inspired historian Luke, the ship was “exceedingly tempest tossed”  and for  “many days no small tempest beat on us.”  Because of this, Luke records, “all hope that we would be saved was finally given up” (27:18, 20).  How should a Christian react when “all hope is gone?”  The text of Acts 27 records that Paul  “stood in the midst of them and said.  .  .  .I urge you to take heart.  .  .  .For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid Paul’.  .  .  .therefore take heart men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (27:21-25).  All hope was not gone!  The storm and stress around Paul could not stamp out the hope inside his heart!

What kind of storm is tossing your ship and causing your hope to slowly leak out? Life is full of fierce winds that blow against our faith.  Sickness can strain our hope.  Family dysfunction, financial problems, a career crisis, a disappointed dream, a broken heart- all these things can cause a storm in our hearts and souls.  Constant stress and strain can cause us to think the storm will never end, and the danger is we will lose hope.  William L.  Brownell said,  “Whatever happens don’t lose your hold on the two main ropes of life: Hope and Faith.  If you do, God pity you because then you are adrift without sail or anchor.”  Christians need never be without an anchor, for Hebrews 6:19 describes the hope God has set before us as “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”  Without faith in Jesus, life comes to a hopeless end.  But with faith in Him, the Christian rejoices in an endless hope!  Don’t lose hope in the storms of life.  Take heart in the Lord Jesus Christ who is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1)!

By Dan Gulley, Evangelist
Smithville Church of Christ