"The Lord saves good people;
he is their strength in times of trouble.
The Lord helps them and saves them;
he saves them from the wicked,
because they trust in him for protection."
READ Psalm 38:1-39:13
SITUATION David prayed when he suffered. He knew only God could bring forgiveness and healing.
OBSERVATION In the midst of our loneliness, despair, and confusion, we find hope in God alone.
INSPIRATION For many people life is --well, life is a jungle. Not a jungle of trees and beasts. Would that it were so simple. Would that our jungle could be cut with a machete or our adversaries trapped in a cage. But our jungles are comprised of thicker thickets of failing health, broken hearts, and empty wallets. Our forests are framed with hospital walls and divorce courts. We don't hear the screeching of the birds or the roaring of lions, but we do hear the complaints of neighbors and the demands of bosses. Our predators are our creditors, and the brush that surrounds us is the rush that exhausts us.
It's a jungle out there.
And for some, even for many, hope is in short supply. Hopelessness is an odd bag. Unlike the others, it isn't full. It's empty, and its emptiness creates the burden. Unzip the top and examine all the pockets. Turn it upside down and shake hard. The bag of hopelessness is painfully empty.
Not a very pretty picture is it? Let's see if we can brighten it up. We've imagined the emotions of being lost; you think we can do the same with being rescued? What would it take to restore your hope? What would you need to reenergize your journey?
Though the answers are abundant, three come quickly to mind.
The first would be a person. Not just any person. You don't need someone equally confused. You need someone who knows the way out.
And from him you need some vision. You need someone to life your spirits. You need someone to look you in the face and say, "This isn't the end. Don't give up. There is a better place than this. And I'll lead you there."
And perhaps most important, you need direction. If you have only a person but no renewed vision all you have is company. If he has a vision but no direction, you have a dreamer for company. But if you have a person with a direction --who can take you from this place to the right place--ah, then you have one who can restore your hope.
Or, to use David's words, "He restores my soul."
Our Shepherd majors in restoring hope to the soul. Whether you are a lamb lost on a craggy ledge or a city slicker alone in a deep jungle, everything changes when your rescuer appears.
Your loneliness diminishes, because you have fellowship.
Your despair decreases, because you have vision.
Your confusion begins to lift, because you have direction. (From Traveling Light by Max Lucado)
APPLICATION Do you feel hopeful or hopeless about the future? What kind of hope does the world provide? What kind of hope does your Shepherd provide? Ask God to diminish your loneliness, decrease your despair, and lift your confusion.
EXPLORATION Hope- Job 13:15; Psalm 62:5; Romans 12:12; 1 Corinthians 13:13; Hebrews 6:19.
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus - Max Lucado General Editor, New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Remember, God loves you just the way you are,
but he refuses to leave you that way.
He wants you to have a hope-filled heart...just like Jesus.
--Max Lucado (Just like Jesus)