What can I do when my feelings go from discouraged to hopeless?
By Dr. Charles Stanley
If you feel hopeless, helpless, or powerless—unable to deal with people or problems and on the verge of exhaustion—take heart in the prophet Habakkuk’s stirring conclusion to his short book.
Knowing that a savage army of Babylonians would soon plunder his homeland, Habakkuk was discouraged. Surely, the coming destruction would be absolutely unbearable. Yet despite the disheartening scenario, Habakkuk penned an amazing response: “I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places” (3:18, 19). Even if the crops all failed, the livestock died, and everything he had learned to depend on was ruined, Habakkuk would still trust the Lord (3:17).
Where did the prophet find such hope in the face of such terrible calamity? For one thing, he had been strengthened by God’s Word. His expression of faith closely echoes the words of David, uttered centuries before: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (Ps. 18:2, 3).
Also, Habakkuk had spent a great deal of time alone with the Lord. In fact, the book that bears his name is a record of his extended conversation with God concerning His ways and plans. While Habakkuk did not understand (or particularly like) what he heard from God, he acknowledged the fact that His ways are best. He trusted the Lord for the future of Israel and for his own life. Regardless of the circumstances, the prophet knew that the Lord was at work and would bring good out of what seemed to be horrendous circumstances. That is God’s promise to us. He is always at work in our lives to bring good out of the darkest of situations (Rom. 8:28).
When the outlook looks grim, Christ is your strength. When the circumstances seem volatile, Christ is your stability. When the future appears foreboding, Christ remains your hope. The strength of Christ is both inexhaustible and immeasurable—and it is yours to receive.
God delights in upholding the weary and reviving the fainthearted (Is. 40:29–31). Your reservoir of emotional and physical energy may feel nearly drained, but God’s supply of spiritual stamina never runs out. Come to Him and His Word for the strength to carry on, and He will supply the power you need to traverse the rough terrain ahead. That’s His promise, and God always keeps His promises.
Adapted from "The Charles F. Stanley’s Life Principles Bible," 2008.
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