A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?
Whenever I counsel someone who is struggling with emotional strongholds, I always want to check their hope-meter because when you have lost your hope, you have lost everything. Simply defined, hope is the belief that my tomorrow will be better than my today. David knew about the power of hope when life looks hopeless.
 
David knew about the power of hope when life looks hopeless.
 
Psalm 42:1 says, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.” Without reading further into the psalm, it sounds as if everything is okay with David. But it’s not. Verse three says, “My tears have been my food day and night.” Friend, when your tears are your food day and night, that means you are really suffering from hopelessness and despair. As David pens this psalm, he is depressed and his soul is discouraged. Yet he says he is going to remember the Lord. 
 
“The Lord will command His lovingkindness,” David writes (v. 8). Though God has not done it yet, David has confidence that He will. So he talks to himself. He writes to himself—he journals about his faith in God. There are times when life crumbles around you, your friends may not be nearby or they may be telling you the wrong things when you need to take it upon yourself to speak to yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and speak God’s truth. Write notes to yourself and leave them in places you will see them. Encourage yourself. This is what David did on several occasions.
 
He asks himself, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?” He doesn’t deny his pain or avoid it, rather he addresses it and tells himself what to do. “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (v. 11).
 
He doesn’t deny his pain or avoid it, rather he addresses it and tells himself what to do.
 
What changed David’s feelings of hopelessness and discouragement? He looked in a different direction. He looked at what God was going to do, even though he couldn’t see it at the time. In other words, he looked by faith.
 
The way to overcome the emotional stronghold of despair, depression or hopelessness is to fast-forward through the tough times—the battle scenes, the drought—to the end. Look toward the place where you surrender your thoughts to the love, grace and faithfulness of God.
 
When you do that, then the thing that is causing you to feel the way you do will no longer own you. Whatever is going wrong in your life will not have the last word. Remember, Satan may have “a” word, the doctor may have “a” word, your job, friends or spouse may have “a” word, but God always has the final word. 
 
Whatever is going wrong in your life will not have the last word.
 
In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah was nothing short of depressed. But instead of wallowing in it, he remembered God. When he began to turn his thoughts toward the goodness of God—in spite of the fact that he couldn’t see God’s goodness at the moment—he started to feel differently about the mess he was in. In fact, in verse 18 of Lamentations 3, Jeremiah lets us know that he has lost all hope. And yet we see his hope return when he returns his thoughts toward God. We read, 
 
“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’” (Lamentations 3:19-25)
 
Friend, God can take a mess and make a miracle if you put your hope in Him.
 
Friend, God can take a mess and make a miracle if you put your hope in Him. He promises that, “those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.” (Isaiah 49:23 NIV) In fact, God is able to turn things around so completely and satisfy you so fully that He will do more than merely bring you out of your emotional bondage. He can even cause you to forget how deep it ever was. I know your hopelessness may seem overwhelming and you may even wonder how you could ever overcome it, but if you will do as Abraham did—who hoped when he had no hope at all: “In hope against hope he believed” (Romans 4:18). God will honor your trust. He can turn your emotional pain into victorious gain.
 
 
Check out more from Dr. Tony Evans @tonyevans.org

About The Author

Dr. Tony Evans

Dr. Tony Evans is one of the country’s most respected leaders in evangelical circles. As a pastor, teacher, author and speaker, he serves the body of Christ through his unique ability to communicate complex theological truths through simple, yet profound, illustrations. While addressing the practical issues of today, Dr. Evans is known as a relevant expositor. New and veteran pastors alike regard him as a pastor of pastors and a father in the faith.


At the heart of this vision is the use of church and school partnerships to effect spiritual and social change in communities. Dr. Evans’ church and school outreach philosophy has been attributed as a catalyst for former President George W. Bush’s Faith Based Initiative, which was his first formal act of office. Dr. Evans seeks to train churches, schools and volunteers in this philosophy, as well as in the functional practicalities, through the National Church Adopt-A-School Initiative which is a ministry underneath the umbrella of The Urban Alternative.


Dr. Evans serves as president of The Urban Alternative, a national ministry that seeks to restore hope and transform lives through the proclamation and the application of the Word of God. His daily radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on more than 850 radio outlets throughout the United States and in more than 80 countries.


Dr. Evans has written numerous books and booklets including his legacy work, Oneness Embraced, as well as his vision work, The Kingdom Agenda. Some of his most recent books includes, Kingdom Man, A Moment For Your Soul, Marriage Matters, and Victory in Spiritual Warfare.

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