Finding Confident Hope (Psalm 42:5)
Psalm 42:5, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”
It has been said that man can live forty days without food, three days without water, and eight minutes without air, but only one second without hope. A scientific experiment by Duke University proved this to be true. A group of behavioral scientists put some rats in a tank of water and observed them to see how long they would survive before drowning. The average time was 17 minutes. The scientists repeated the experiment; but this time they rescued the rats just before the point of drowning, dried them off, and returned them to their cages. Then they fed the creatures, let them play for a few days, and repeated the drowning experiment. This time, the average survival time for these rats increased from 17 minutes to 36 hours. The scientists explained this by saying the second time around, the rats had hope. They believed that they could survive this hardship because they had done so before.
It is very difficult to remain hopeful when you are depressed and everything you do seems doomed to fail. You can, however, overcome this situation with the Word of God.
1. Believe that God is greater than your circumstances and any problems that are weighing you down.
Accept the victory in His holy name (Romans 8:37). Our hope is not in favorable circumstances, but in the God who brings these circumstances together. This hope gives us confidence that regardless of what challenges the next moment holds in store, we can survive because God has come through before. Rather than barely getting by in life’s difficult circumstances, Christ’s followers are overwhelming conquerors. That is because Jesus won the victory for us through His death on the cross. Because of His victory, we now have salvation and the presence of the Holy Spirit living in us, supplying the power for us to be more than conquerors through life’s struggles. The present distress is only temporary! Our present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will someday be ours.
2. Lay your concerns before the Father in earnest and specific prayer.
Pour out all of your problems before Him. You will be amazed at the results (Psalm 55:22). When you are in deep distress, cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. David had learned this valuable lesson through his experience. When he began his prayer, he was carrying the full weight of his trouble on his own shoulders. When he gave it to God, God granted him glorious peace and confidence. Whenever you hear about God answering someone’s prayer, whenever you see Him provide for their needs and satisfy their desires, it should give you hope that He will do the same in your life. If we are wise, we will heed David’s advice to cast our burdens on the Lord. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for cast (shalak) is also used of breaking the chains or ropes that hold a person captive. When we choose to bear our own burdens, they become chains that keep us in bondage to fear, dread, and worry. But when we give our burdens to the Lord, we are set free to live in the realm of peace and faith. God does not want us to carry the unbearable load of our afflictions. Again and again in Scripture, He invites us to throw them off and allow Him to bear them for us. But we have to trust God enough to commit our trouble to Him. When we fully trust God with our problems, our fears and anxiety will wondrously vanish, and the precious peace of God will reign in their place. Like David, we will be filled with confidence in God and will experience His sustaining and victorious power (II Corinthians 4:13-14).
3. Believe steadfastly that God can and will achieve something glorious through this dark period in your life (Romans 8:28).
Many people go through life without hope. Their hopelessness is seen in their negative outlook. Others have grown impatient and given up hope. They don’t believe they will ever see God come through for them. Then there are those who are full of hope. They see every blessing in their lives and in the lives of others as reason for hope in God. These people are confident that they will make it through their hardships because they’ve seen God do it before. Which person do you want to be? Make a conscience effort to turn your eyes away from yourself to see the world in need. God has a purpose for all things. Our confidence is not in our own ability, but in God. We are assured that all things will work together for good. God is still on the throne and He is still in control.
Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your patience with me. I so easily close my ears to Your voice and listen to the voice of my circumstances, others who are not your children, and the voice of the Accuser. When I do this, I put my soul in turmoil. From the moment I wake to the moment I lay my head down to rest, may I place all of my hope in You alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.