So what are you to do when you feel stuck on the suspension bridge of faith lacking in hope to move forward? After all, to walk by faith means you actually have to move forward. The following are some tips to help you out:
- There are 2 brilliant prayers from Scripture we can easily memorize and pray often: 1) Psalm 119:116: “Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.” 2) Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Always remember: He is the God of hope– not the God of disappointment, discouragement, or failure. There is always hope with God. God is not intimidated by your worst-case scenario and neither should you be. Sometimes we think God waits until the last minute to move in our situation. The truth is that there is no “last minute” with God as humans would define the phrase. He can do anything at any time. He is perfect, His ways are perfect, and therefore, His timing is perfect. In fact, He is so powerful that what we consider to be impossible is only the starting point for what God can do. The impossible is easy for God.
- Hopelessness is not only exasperating but exhausting. Don’t waste your time, energy, thoughts, efforts, etc. being angry with God that He allowed some kind of affliction or suffering. It is wiser to pour all of yourself into pursuing Him so that you can get to know Him better, learn what He wants you to learn, and allow Him to work in whatever way He wants to. It makes no sense to become wrathful against God and allow the problem to become exponentially worse by sowing to the flesh. After all, Psalm 34:19 says that you will have many afflictions so let Him help you through them by staying humble and seeking His grace and strength to endure. Remember, the wrath of man doesn’t work the righteousness of God. (James 1:20) Nothing good comes from getting angry with God.
- Every time you feel the pain or pressure, use the feeling to remind yourself to think of the Answer. If you don’t think about Jesus while the pressure is on, what makes you think you will pay any attention to Him once He heals or delivers you? Maybe you will focus on Him after and maybe you won’t. It is better to get into the practice of keeping focused on Him now, not only so you can make it through this time, but so that you don’t forget about Him after He blesses you. (Deuteronomy 8:10-17)
- Remember the importance of patience. Paul says quite a bit about the relationship between hope and patience in Romans: 1) Chapter 8:24-25: “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” 2) Chapter 5: 2-5: “By whom [Jesus Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” 3) Chapter 12:12: “rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.”
All of these passages show the importance and value of patience. Romans 5:2-5 is the main impetus for this essay. Learning to glory in tribulations may be one of the hardest lessons to learn. But tribulation works patience; patience, experience; and experience, hope. Hope in God will not leave us ashamed. Why? Isaiah tells us in chapter 49:23b: “…and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.” Jeremiah also reminds us that, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” (Jeremiah 17:7) Experience produces hope because we see God’s faithfulness over time and that this hope is sure and stedfast. It doesn’t change because neither God nor His faithfulness changes. In Romans 12:12 Paul tells us to rejoice in hope. No matter how hard the situation or painful the affliction, you should rejoice because there is hope. Since there is hope, we can be patient in tribulation, and continue in prayer. If you don’t have hope you will not be patient in tribulation and you may give up praying. Don’t forget the admonishment of James to let patience have her perfect work that you may be perfect and entire and wanting nothing (James 1:4).
- Self-pity is pointless. Indeed, I could make the case that it is idol worship as we grant more attention to our feelings of hopelessness and feeling sorry for ourselves than by seeking God for help and hoping in Him. Gratitude is the antidote for self-pity. Start writing down everything you are thankful for (or should be thankful for) and express your gratitude to God. It is impossible to stay in a mindset of self-pity when you begin to realize all God has done for you and given you. At some point, your gratitude will overwhelm your feelings of self-pity. Feeling sorry for yourself and being grateful can’t co-exist in the same heart.
Above all else, don’t stiff-arm God and draw back from Him but run to Him. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help, guide, and strengthen you. He knows the path of life (Psalm 16: 11) and wants to help you, heal you, and guide you to freedom and wholeness. It is not a matter of if God can heal or deliver you; it is not even a matter of if God will; it is only a matter of when. With God, timing is critical- remember since He is perfect, His ways are perfect, and therefore, His timing is perfect.
I truly pray that you have found these last 2 posts helpful and encouraging. A bridge, even a suspension bridge, is a tool that is intended to lead somewhere. So are the afflictions and suffering God allows. God doesn’t allow them without purposes in mind, including to make you more like Jesus and bring you to the place He wants you to be in life and as a person. You can’t stay paralyzed on a suspension bridge forever. At some point, you have to make the decision to either move forward in faith or retreat in shame. Hope in God will not lead to shame if you but allow Him to work for no matter what God does He will make you glad through His work and cause you to triumph in the works of His hands. (Psalm 92:4) Never forget: even with the storm clouds gathering around you and the wind of impatience blowing through your soul trying to knock you off course that you are in the palm of His hand. (Isaiah 49:26) Don’t look down into the deep chasm of doubt and despair but look ahead into His eyes of love as He beckons you to move forward one step at a time, trusting He won’t let you fall. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, underneath you are His everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27) Emulate Isaiah and remind yourself that God will help you, and you will not be confounded. Choose to set your face like a flint in the direction of His face for He promises you will not be ashamed. (Isaiah 50:7) So, hope in God and walk across the suspension bridge of faith step by step, moment by moment, until you reach the other side of God’s promises fulfilled.