Thursday, March 18, 2010

When hope is lost...

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is the adventure of Paul and Luke in Acts 27 where Paul is a prisoner being transported to Rome on a ship for trial and they get caught in the middle of a Nor’easter. I love this chapter because I’m fascinated by Paul’s ability to be a leader and a man of profound influence even though he’s a prisoner. The other morning in my quiet time, I was on a roll pulling out leadership principles from Paul’s example in this chapter that I’ll develop into a sermon or seminar series someday. But what struck me was Luke’s statement in 27:20 where they had not seen sun nor stars for many days, he makes an unbelievably sad statement: “all hope that we would be saved was finally lost.” As I meditated on that statement, I thought about the myriad of struggles I know of in our church family with people being deathly ill, major surgeries, and catastrophic injuries with long roads to recovery. I also thought of families who are walking through serious crisis with their children, members who have some serious challenges in their businesses and jobs, the possibilities of being laid off or having to lay people off as a boss. Meeting this week with some elderly prospects who’ve visited Calvary and the heartache  they carry in their current church situation and the profound sadness they have at the thought of having to find a new church at this stage of their lives. As I thought of all the difficulties my sheep the Lord has entrusted me with are experiencing, I could feel the stress, pressure and burdens building as I read again “all hope that we would be saved was finally lost.” After my quiet time, I began to get dressed to head to the office and turned on the news to catch up on the bad news out in the world. I don’t know why I bother, it would be more depressing to listen to all the garbage going on, but I subjected myself to it anyway. I was still thinking about Luke’s statement: “all hope that we would be saved was finally lost.” As I stood there shaving, staring at myself in the mirror, I was talking to God about all this stuff going on, praying for many of you by name, asking God to take these burdens, for His grace and peace to be upon our church family in the midst of trials, I could feel the stress and weight of the world being lifted off my shoulders. The blessed Holy Spirit reminded me of recent studies through Revelation and that we’ve already won, He reminded me of Jesus’ promise: “I will not leave you nor forsake you.” Reminding me also of Jesus’ promise to His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Looking outside the window next to me, I saw the sun already ablaze, the sky was clear blue, seeing buds forming on trees in the woods behind my house, I gazed up into the expanse of space and thanked the Lord for who He is, knowing that my Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father and at that moment, He was making intercession, praying to the Father for me and for all of you! The Lord knows all of the hurts, trials, pressures and struggles you and I are experiencing. The need for hope in our church and society is profound, but I would remind you that Jehovah God is bigger than all that stuff and He’s inviting you to talk to Him about it. Paul was one of 276 people in a desperate situation & he encouraged the other 275 people on this ship that He had a word from the Lord that they would be saved. I got a word from the Lord that morning too, and I walked out into the day walking in confidence that my God is in charge and He’s walking with me and “hopelessness” just becomes incredible “hope”! This is not a dream, a fantasy, not naivety, but the calm assurance that I’m securely in God’s care and that I can count on His provision. Oh what a blessing to walk with God through the good bad and the downright ugly. The people around your circle of influence desperately need hope and you have the keys to share it with them if you walk with God daily through prayer and consistent Bible Study. Paul’s hope and confidence in God was contagious and mine and yours can be also in a world that desperately needs it. So take courage, be strengthened and know that all hope is not lost that we can be and will be saved through faith in Jesus Christ, not just for eternal salvation, but through the storms and trials of life.  “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1st Peter 5:7). I thought I’d spread a little hope, from my little corner of the world to yours…

Ralph Green

Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church

Subscribe to Pastor Ralph's Blog:  

Follow Me on Twitter:  

Posted via email from Pastor Ralph

No comments:

Post a Comment