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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?”—Job 6:11 (NIV)
Job is at the end of his hope. Everything he once esteemed has been ripped away with little time to pause and collect his pieces. One punch after another and he’s still reeling. Job now faces his friends—both a source of comfort and of unrest.
While their counsel isn’t much help to him in this moment, you can see that he feels comfortable enough to share his innermost doubts and fears. He’s weak and sees no life left that could be brought back. He’s far too exhausted to even see hope for a restored strength. He asks them for any reason or hope that might convince him there is actually a way up from this moment.
While I know his friends get a bad reputation for spewing harm, I believe they were only offering the best wisdom man could conjure for a mysterious work of God. While we should search for friends that are a great source of wisdom and truth, I think we can also be grateful when their words fall flat. In these moments we remember there are things above earthly understanding that the Lord alone can speak into.
When you think you’re strong, you may be surprised how quickly you can be brought to your knees. Matthew Henry says, “What is our strength? It is depending strength. We have no more strength than God gives us; for in him we live and move. It is decaying strength; we are daily spending the stock, and by degrees it will be exhausted. It is disproportionable to the encounters we may meet with; what is our strength to be depended upon . . . ?”
Job has lost hope for any day that could ever be better. He basically says, “What prospects do I have to hope that tomorrow will be better . . . that I can ever recover?” But the Word reminds us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18–19 NIV).
The hope we’re looking for isn’t seen or even understood. It’s the treasures found in the weakness, the subtle feeling we get even when all else around us is crumbling. Hope is beyond our understanding. Even when we don’t feel it, we can believe in it!
If we truly believe that His strength is made perfect in our weakness, then in our darkest moments we should find the greatest hope that we have so much room now for Him to work and heal.
DIG: Read Romans 8:24–25, Isaiah 43, and Ezekiel 37.
DISCOVER: Are there moments you still feel hopeless about?
DO: Set up stones of remembrance—a journal entry, a word painted on your wall, etc.—so you can look back and remember what you’ve walked through and how God strengthened you in the process.