There is Hope
“The waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to perish. I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” Lamentations 3:54-57
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. Jeremiah 17:7
If you are feeling overwhelmed by life right now, you are not alone. I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, but I truly believe that regardless of what you may be facing, there is hope. This is something I have to remind myself of daily (often multiple times per day, depending on what I am going through).
As we step into this New Year, most of us (if we are honest) have already faced major obstacles and issues in our jobs, relationships, finances, and families that have completely thrown us for a loop. Sometimes even the new and good things that we are experiencing can cause us to feel overwhelmed and flooded with worry and fear.
What’s interesting about this word “overwhelmed” is that it has various meanings.
(v) 1 Bury or drown beneath a huge mass… swamp, submerge, engulf, inundate 2 Defeat completely… conquer, vanquish, be victorious over, triumph over, overthrow 3 Be too strong for; overpower… overcome, affect, move, stir, shake
These powerful lyrics from an old Hillsong track called “Take Heart” come to mind:
All our troubles and all our tears, God our hope, He has overcome All our failures and all our fear, God our love, He has overcome All our heartache and all our pain, God our healer, He has overcome All our burdens and all our shame, God our freedom, He has overcome
Here is what I have learned to be true, not only in my life, but in the lives of the clients whom I have the privilege of walking through life with:
When I feel defeated (overwhelmed) by worry, God reminds me that He conquered (overwhelmed) it!
When I feel inundated (overwhelmed) by frustration, God reminds me that He has drowned (overwhelmed) it!
When I feel engulfed (overwhelmed) by fear of the future, God reminds me that He has already triumphed over (overwhelmed) it!
Sometimes we feel that we are in over our heads with commitments, responsibilities, and shifting life seasons. But Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”
Though I cannot know what the future holds or see all of the details for the next 5, 10, or 20 years… I choose to agree with what this verse says because it provides me with a strong sense of hope. Blogger Jenni Catron makes this important and powerful statement on the subject:
“Hope is the anchor of a strong vision. Hope steadies a team. Hope redeems doubt. Andy Andrews says it this way in his book The Final Summit: “Hope is the captain of courage and the author of success. For the person whose hope remains unshaken has within them the power to do miracles. Hope sees what’s invisible, feels what is intangible, and achieves what most consider impossible.”
The awesome thing is that scripture backs this up! Do a study of the word “hope” in scripture and discover all that God has to say about this. The basic translation of hope is simply, “the expectation that something good will happen.” The way that we live with hope in the face of things that feel overwhelming is by increasing our own awareness of what we are allowing ourselves to be focused on. While I am waiting for the resolution of the thing that feels impossible and scary, what am I thinking about? This exercise will help you to shift your focus moment by moment as you seek to live with greater daily hope.
1. Grab your journal, notebook, iPad, a piece of paper… and make a list of 2-3 things that are causing you to feel overwhelmed and need increased hope for.
2. Write out this sentence for each issue listed and fill in the blank to allow your focus to shift to the ways that God is invading that issue.
“I feel overwhelmed again by __________________… Thank you, God, for reminding me that you have already overcome, conquered, covered, defeated, and promised me victory in this area. The thought I chose to focus on instead is _____________________… I surrender this situation to you again right now and choose to trust you and to be overwhelmed by you. I choose hope today.”
3. Practice the new thought and pray the prayer below:
Thank you for being the God who never sleeps. Thank you for always being here for me, even when I’m not always here for you. Thank you that you are Love and that you want the very best for me. Thank you for your promises and that you never change. I am feeling totally overwhelmed. Please help me. Help me to rest in the fact that you know what is best for me. Forgive me for turning away from you and trying to control the outcome in situations in my life. The Bible says that you are not the God of confusion but of peace. Help me to rest in your love and to feel the peace which surpasses all understanding. Help me to feel your love and comfort. Help me to be still and know that you are God and that you will take care of me, just like any loving parent takes care of their children. Your Word says to cast all of our anxiety on you because you care for us. I turn all of my burdens and concerns over to you. Please guide my every step and help me to be attentive to your loving direction. Amen. (Written by: Jackie Trottman)