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Advent Devotional (Week 2): When All Hope Seems Lost

“Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus” John 11:5.

In his bedroom, after his shower, while I am getting his pajamas out of the drawer, he points to the scar on his chest.

“Do you see this on my chest? This is where God healed me.”

He is six and marked.

“And this one is my second belly button.” Pointing to the pencil size scar where his feeding tube once was.

He reached over and gave me a giant hug, remembering all the nights I sat on his bed crying out to the Lord for his healing. One particular night my faith was small. Begging God for a miracle was all I could do, not even sure if he would come through. I had lost hope since all his symptoms had returned. In the natural, it looked like defeat. I begged God.

“Please heal his heart. Don’t let him die.”

Not even four years old and he declared, “Mommy, God has already healed me. We don’t have to pray anymore.”

Now, two years later and his scars are a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness.

Sometimes we have to go through the storm to see the miracle. Our scars serve as are minder of God’s faithfulness and love.

Never Lose Hope in the Fight

John 11 begins with a sick Lazarus. His sisters Mary and Martha sent word for Jesus to come to Bethany to heal Lazarus. Jesus delays. He waits two full days until Lazarus is dead. All hope seemed lost.

Followers of Jesus seem always to live in this tension between “What if?” and “But if not!”

Hope is the very glue that holds the “What if?” and But if not!” together. And whispers that everything is going to be ok.

Jesus was approaching the village, and while Mary remained seated in the house, Martha went out to meet Him (John 11:20).

Was Mary just being lazy? Or maybe it was too much for her to bear. Or maybe Martha was just overzealous. Maybe just perhaps, Mary felt like I did the night I cried out to the Lord. All hope seemed lost. There was nothing else to do, so why bother? Mary had lost the drive to fight and didn’t have the strength to believe again. She stopped showing up. She stopped believing.

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died,” John 11:21. I uncoil knowing how Mary felt.

“God, if only you had, this would not have happened. God, if you had only stepped in and ended the suffering.”

Martha teaches us that we can trust God with our feelings even if they seem harsh. What she said next demonstrated high hopes for the future, “But even now I know that whatever you ask to from God, God will give You,” John 11:22.

Martha expresses expectancy even after what happened. Even after her brother’s death. See, Martha didn’t know the end of the story like we do. She had no idea Jesus was going to raise her brother from the dead. She expressed hope despite the natural circumstances.

“I know circumstances look bad and there are many complications with sleepless nights, but I have hope that things can change.”

I can just envision Jesus cupping her face as he says, “Your brother will rise again,” John 11:23. The promise Martha can cling to with hope.

Jesus goes on to reveal himself as the resurrection. Even though Martha does not completely understand what Jesus is saying, she clings to the truth with hope.

“Yes, Lord,” Martha said, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world,” John 11:27.

Mary uttered the very same words her sister said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” John 11:32.

Hopelessness does not follow up with the statement like Martha’s, “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you,” John 11:22. Disappointment without hope points the finger at God and says, “You could have prevented all of this!”

Disappointment not taken to God in prayer will prevent hope from piercing into your darkness.

Can I just cup your face for a moment, because I have been there? I know the feeling when all hope is gone and circumstances are screaming louder than the truth.

There is healing in Jesus name.

Hang on to the Truth.

Press into Him.

Cling to His promises.

Look up to where your help comes from.

Can we press into hope and stand on some truths together?

Prayer is what gives you the strength to stand. Bleeding before God with her honest heart is what gave Martha hope. Don’t stop showing up.

He is a good Father and loves you (John 10:14).

“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!” Isaiah 41:10, 13 AMP

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us were upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 AMP

“Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! And does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason, I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].” Matthew 11:23-24 AMP

Love the words of Margaret Feinberg in her book Fight Back with Joy, “The same joyful resolve that traces all the way back to Abraham, Moses, and many more. Each died clinging to the hope that God could do the impossible regardless of the outcome of their experience.”

And when all hope seems to be lost believe God is up to something, because Jesus is our hope.

How can I pray for you this holiday season? Drop me an email or comment. If this touched you, please share and spread the encouragement. I am honored you stopped by!

And if you missed Advent Devotional (Week 1): Jesus is Our Restorer

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Advent Devotional (Week 2): When All Hope Seems Lost

  1. Beautiful, truth-filled post! What a miracle your son is. So glad you shared a piece of your story and that I followed you this week at Crystal’s to read it! Your encouraging words make a difference. Thank you for point us all to our Savior. Have a blessed Advent season!

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