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Remaining Hopeful in Hopelessness

"This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's son may be glorified through it." - Matthew 11:4


Have you ever felt like things couldn't get any worse, and then - bam - your mind curses you for challenging that notion, and things do, somehow, end up getting worse?



Now, I'm sure you are not as terrible of a person as I am, but when this happens, I usually feel like God is punishing me. Anyone else?



God, I've been praying for you to deliver me from this situation, and now it's worse?! What have I done to deserve that?



Whether we want to admit it or not, I think we are all in this boat today. We have been praising, extending our faith, praying and resting in the hope that God will deliver us. And yet, the news headlines seem to be getting darker & darker.


For people who don't believe, they are wondering where a loving God could be in any of this - attacking believers on every social media platform possible.


I'm not giving up hope, but I was starting to get frustrated. God, I know you are in this - but can you show up, like soon, dude?


The story of Lazarus in Matthew 11 is an incredible story that has shifted my perspective.

Whenever situations seem to falter worse than they started, I will remember Lazarus, and how God specifically and intentionally designed the story to seem completely hopeless, to gain glory.


Lazarus was a brother of Martha & Mary, whom Jesus was very close to. When Lazarus had fallen sick, the sisters sent a message to Jesus who was not in the area at that time. Although He was concerned, the word says Jesus "...stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, 'Let us go back to Judea'."


Ok. If someone I loved was dying, I'm pretty sure I would've hopped on the next express camel passing by and gotten my booty there as fast as I could.


Why did Jesus stay where he was for two more days?

In fact, in these two days, Lazarus' illness killed him. He was dead.


Jesus' response is pretty amazing.


"Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe."


If Jesus had been around when Lazarus fell ill, He would have healed him, but the credit could have gone to natural healing from Lazarus' body. The credit could have gone to medicine.


The credit could have gone to anything but the super natural, almighty powers of God.


Lazarus lay dead for four days before Jesus showed up. His situation went from bad, to the worst possible scenario. Four days of no signs of life is a pretty solid confirmation that he was, indeed, dead.


Mary & Martha were devastated, and in deep mourning. They were not mad at Jesus, but they kept wondering, aloud, what it would have been like if Jesus had been there.


Are you feeling that way today? What if Jesus had been here to stop this virus? What if Jesus would just show up and heal the sick? What if Jesus would just revive the economy?


But, what if God is allowing all of this to go from bad to worse, so that His glory, and ONLY His glory can be shone through?


If God showed up too early, society may give credit to the government. They may give credit to medicine. They may give credit to anything but the miraculous powers of God.


Now, I'm not saying that God is not using the government and medicine in powerful ways - because He certainly does, and we should be thankful for that - but, our entire faith cannot be based on that. Our entire trust shouldn't be kept in that.


He will raise this society from the dead, just like He called Lazarus to come out of the tomb. We will see the glory of God through this, and it will be used as a miraculous sign for believers and non-believers.


Even the ones with the strongest faith - Jesus' disciples - began to doubt that He could raise Lazarus from the dead. Even Mary & Martha, who knew what He was capable of doing, doubted that He could save this situation.


"Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"


Our God is able. Our God can. Our God will.


"Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him."


That last part gives me chills. When God comes through in a supernatural way, there will be people saved. There will be more believers than ever before, and His church can continue to build faith, hope and love in society.


Whatever you are believing God for today, do not let the conditions of society let that faith falter. Do not let the situation of the world diminish that faith.


Just because it doesn't look hopeful, does not mean God does not have a plan. Keep seeking Him. Keep spreading love. Keep being a light, and watch how He will rise up and illustrate how mighty He is.



Challenge:

Make two columns. On one side, write down all of the seemingly doomed parts of society that you are seeing. Then, on the other side, write down how you will stand in faith that God will come through to revive all of these things. Keep this list and pray on it daily.

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