By Jennifer Maggio, Crosswalk.com
The battles we have faced are many. We battle through the ugliness of death, lost relationships, addiction, financial ruin, parenting challenges, and wayward prodigals. Sometimes, we face seemingly insurmountable obstacles that threaten to suffocate the life from us at any moment. The weights are heavy, and if we are not careful, we begin to feel hopeless. The hopelessness can creep in with ease, at first, that feels uncomfortable, but sadly, it becomes all-too-familiar, as we drown in the sorrow of one more disappointment, worried we may lose it if one more thing happens.
I am writing to all the exhausted, hopeless, and ready-to-throw-in-the-towel out there. I do not know your no-hope moment. I have no idea how long it took you to get here, how many “no’s” you had to hear, battles you had to fight, or the wounds and scars that you hide. I cannot begin to imagine what pushed you to the brink of hopelessness that you would decide to allow it to reside within you because you have decided it is just too hard to keep fighting. But, there is one thing I do know. That is, I am well acquainted with the God of hope, and that God of hope has sent me to tell you that it is time for your faith to arise. We must stop living like those with no hope. We need a battle plan that will adequately fill us with faith and hope when those no-hope moments arise. We need an encounter with the God of all hope.
I Know What it Is to Be Hopeless
When I was sexually assaulted for many years, there seemed to be no hope for rescue.
When I had two kids outside of marriage as a young single mom, there seemed to be no hope for a loving husband in my future.
When my son was an angry teenager who was kicking holes in the walls and cussing me out, despite traveling the country teaching and writing parenting books, there certainly seemed to be no hope for godliness in his life.
When my credit cards were maxed out, and there was no money in the checking account, and I was living in the projects, there seemed to be no hope for provision.
When a flood came and took everything that I ever owned in a matter of minutes, ravaging my clothing, home, and children’s baby items, and all that I held dear...there seemed to be no hope of restoration...
When the weight of my hundreds and hundreds of sins were too heavy to bear, there seemed to be no hope for redemption...
I do not know what your "no hope" moment looks like today, but my deepest prayer is that your hope would be restored and that the God of all hope would fill you to OVERFLOWING.
1 Peter 5:10 says, "So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation." This is new hope for those who have been suffering for a while. Your little while may seem like a long while right now, but....he will restore and strengthen you. Today is the day for renewed hope and rising faith in this place. It's time to call things as if they were, not as they are.
What are the things that we have lost hope in? Where have we grown weary? Here are just a few:
Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Ahmed Hasan
Finances are hard! No doubt. When it seems like there is more month than money, creditors are mounting, and the car breaks down, it’s hard. It’s frustrating, and you may be in a season right now where it looks bad. A job may be hard to attain today. Money is tight. Meals are being skipped. Things really are not looking good. But check out what Deuteronomy 28:1-6 says:
"If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God: Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed."
Make no mistake. God's Word says He will supply all our needs. When we seek God's Kingdom first, all things will be added. Seek His will for your life. Honor Him with your first fruits through the tithe. Live holy and pure lives. Live unapologetically unoffended by the battles that you continually face. Serve His people and His church. He will provide. Sometimes His provision will look like a friend inviting you over for a meal or offering you a couch to sleep on when you just lost your home. Sometimes His provision looks different than what we hoped or imagined, but make no mistake about it, it's provision nonetheless. There are lessons in the providing.
Learn to be faithful with the fishes and loaves in your hand. Tithe on the $10, so you can be free to tithe on the $10,000. Give the widow's mite freely. Now, let me be clear, I am not suggesting that God is your magic genie that you rub and make demands on once you throw your $10 bill in the offering plate. What I am saying is your God will rain manna from Heaven in unexpected ways. He will meet your needs.
Sometimes, because of the weights we have carried and the disappointments that we have experienced, we can lose hope in our futures. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray I will listen." You do not have to figure it all out. Many of you have worried yourselves literally sick. God is not sitting in Heaven scratching His head, debating on His plans for your life. He says, “I know the plans.” He is not trying to figure out the plans! He already has it figured out! The question is, have you asked Him what His plan for your life is?
Philippians 4:6-7 needs to be an anthem for which we live our lives when we are losing hope. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for what he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ."
Peace is the fertile soil on which your faith can grow. Chaos breeds roots of bitterness, offense, and confusion. But the peace of God will plant you firmly in soil that will allow you to grow like a great oak, unwavering in your faith, despite the storms of life.
This one is especially for you ladies. No, let’s just be real about reality now, women; we are makers who help keep the world going around. We are the hands that rock the cradle. We are the chauffeurs, counselors, and dishwashers extraordinaire. We are the kissers of all boo-boos. And we are exhausted from trying to fix everything and everyone around us. When we offer help to a sister, a child, a parent— when they refuse to take it— we get angry and frustrated. When a family member messes up again, we get disappointed. We become exhausted trying to be everything for our families. We are spending so much time trying to fix people. But let me give you some freedom....we are not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the “fixer.” We lose hope when we are in charge of the fixing, but truthfully, we cannot fix anything. It is only in our weakness that God is made strong. If we fix every part of our children's lives, how do they learn to lean on a good God?
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:30 that “His yoke is easy and burden is light.” Why do we keep trying to carry the load? We can't.
Psalm 27:13 says, “I would have despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” This is the God of all hope that we know!
Some of you just need to be reminded today that your God is a mountain-moving Savior. He is a way-maker, a hope-giver. He is an earth-shaking, enemy-scattering God. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He says He puts the lonely in families. He makes a river in a dry wasteland. He upholds you with His victorious right hand. He has created you to be the head and not the tail, a city on a hill, a light in a dark world. He did not create you to clamor in a corner like someone with no hope. It is time for the people of God to let hope arise, to let their faith arise, to begin to pray like you believe He can do it.
Your God is not fretting about your singleness, your credit card, or your health. He is resting comfortably on the throne, making a way where there seems to be none.
To those of you who read this, who have lost all hope, God has sent me to tell you it is not over. Calvary is on the way. Those in Christ stand with you. Just like an exhausted Moses who had no more left to give, we stand with you today, like Aaron, ready to hold up your weary arms, that you may be victorious in the battle.
Be reminded that the God of all hope promises you a deep, spiritual rest. Rest in knowing that He has you in the palm of His hand, working things out for your good, even when you don’t know how, when, or why. He is always good.
Hebrews 4:9-11 "So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God's rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest."
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Hassan Saleh
Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and currently serves more than 1,500 churches.
The Life of a Single Mom has served 406,000 single mothers over the last decade and counting. Maggio is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.
Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and serves more than 1,500 churches and 71,000 single mothers annually. She is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She also hosts the podcast Single Mom 101, which you can find at LifeAudio.com. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com or check out her Facebook and Instagram pages.