Do You Have High Hopes?

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps truth forever, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.

—Psalm 146:5-8

The pursuit of happiness is one of the “rights” to which we’re entitled from the United States Declaration of Independence, and people sometimes try to take it too far. Does it seem unattainable to you? What is it you’re pursuing that you think will make you happy? Is it stuff? A better work situation? More money? A bigger house? World peace? In Psalm 20:7 the psalmist writes, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” And Isaiah wrote: “Woe to those who . . . trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor
seek the Lord!” (31:1).

It amazes me that we (and I include myself in this) trust God with our eternal destiny, but we struggle to trust Him with our todays and tomorrows. Saints, if we look to “Egypt,” and pursue the things of the world in the hope of producing happiness, we won’t get what we expect but will receive “woes” instead. I can’t tell you how many parents wish their son or daughter had never stepped foot onto a college campus because the pursuit of success destroyed their child’s faith, and, as a consequence, their hope. It’s not true all the time, but it happens too frequently to ignore, and it is tragic.

“But how will they make it in this world without a degree?” some will ask. Well, who said they are supposed to “make it” in this world at all? According to God’s Word, He will take care of the righteous. It’s better to be a janitor in His house than to dwell in a house built by wickedness. If that upsets you, remember, I didn’t write the Bible; God did. “Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud” (Proverbs 16:19).

Our hope isn’t in this world. It comes from looking to the Lord and believing His Word. This doesn’t mean that we sit around waiting for God to shower us with blessings so that we don’t have to lift a finger. It means that we’re not to worry about how we’re going to pay our bills, provide for our children, dress ourselves, etc. We’re to work and also to help others. Second Thessalonians tells us, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (3:10). First Timothy 5:8 says, “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” So please don’t misinterpret what is being said here. God has a role for us to play in our provision, but we are not to fear that He won’t help us when we need assistance. Trust in the Lord!

Today, many are hopeless and miserable because the way they had thought
their lives would turn out didn’t work out that way at all. But the Bible says that “Happy is the one who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Ps 146:5). Conversely, unhappy are those who look for it elsewhere!

Looking to the Lord for everything is not a weird or difficult thing to do. He is faithful. He will provide. He will direct our steps and lead us in the path in which we’re to go, whether that be a new job, a ministry—whatever He has for us! Our place is to seek His face and then let Him direct our steps. Lord, help me to follow wherever You lead, even when I don’t understand what you are doing. Fill me with faith to trust You always.

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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