On Paul’s trip to Rome to stand trial before Caesar, the ship runs into a violent storm. As the storm continues for many days, Luke says, “we finally gave up all hope of being saved” (Acts 27:20). Have you ever felt that way concerning a situation in your own life? Have you ever come to a place in your life where you “finally gave up all hope”? Maybe you have given up all hope of being healed. Maybe you have given up all hope of God’s promise being fulfilled in your life. Maybe you have given up all hope of your marriage turning around. Maybe you have given up all hope of that door opening that you’ve been waiting for, for so long. Sometimes we come to a place in our lives where we just want to give up all hope concerning that one area of our lives that we want to see a change. After all, hope breeds expectation and sometimes expectation leads to disappointment. A series of disappointments or a long season of no answers, can lead to “finally giving up all hope”. At least we often feel that way when our hopes continue to go unfulfilled.
Maybe Paul was one of the “we” that Luke is referring to, who momentarily gave up all hope of being saved, at least until the angel visited him. At times, we all lose hope concerning certain situations in our lives. It doesn’t always mean a lack of faith or trust in the Lord. It may just mean accepting God’s will for our lives. It wasn’t until after that angelic visit that Paul told those sailing with him, “So keep up your courage men, for I have faith in God it will happen just as he told me” (Acts 27:25). That’s a faith that’s full of hope. It’s faith in God that makes us hope-full.
What do we do when we reach that place of “finally giving up all hope”, when there no longer seems to be any light at the end of our tunnel? I have been taking Proverbs 3:5 and 6 to a whole new level – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path”. What does that mean? How do we do that? I see acknowledging the Lord in all our ways the evidence of trusting in the Lord will all our heart and not leaning on our own understanding. Here is how I have been doing that. I have been acknowledging the Lord in all my ways by thanking and praising him right where I am at, for where he has me and what he is doing in my life. I have also been sharing Jesus in our daily meetings at work with the employees that are there. I have had opportunities to share Jesus with people one on one, but lately I have been sharing Jesus in group settings as well. Acknowledging the Lord in all our ways is evidence of trusting him with all our hearts and keeps us from leaning on our own understanding. The end result is that God will direct our path in life. He will open the doors, bring about the miracle, heal your hurt and direct your life.
What is it that you are hoping for? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…how?… by acknowledging him in all your ways and then he will direct your path and fulfill the hope of your heart. That’s a faith that’s hope-full.