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Hope for Today... and Tomorrow

Hope for Today... and Tomorrow

Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. — Romans 5:5

Our God is the God of hope, the God of the second chance, and the God who transforms the lives of seemingly hopeless people, including characters like former gang member Ronnie Bronski and a hard-hearted reporter.

And like you too.

But it’s often easier to count on God to redeem our past than it is to trust Him with our present and our future. Our tendency is to begin our spiritual journeys with a childlike belief in God’s miraculous power, and then gradually revert to a reliance on our own human efforts. It was because of this tendency that the apostle Paul challenged the believers in Galatia:

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? — Galatians 3:3

The all-too-frequent answer then — as now — was a resounding yes.

I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I think there’s a diabolical plot afoot, one designed to tell us that it might make sense to trust God with our problems of yesterday, but not for those of today or tomorrow.

“Sure,” Satan whispers, “the Big Guy reached down and helped you turn things around after what was a pretty sordid past. But He has a whole world to look after, with countless emergencies happening all the time. So don’t expect Him to be intervening from this point forward in your insignificant life. You’ve already gotten all the help you’re going to get. From here on out, you’re on your own!”

This enemy of our souls, the one the Bible calls “the accuser” (Revelation 12:10), does all he can to drain us of hope. Were it not for God’s ongoing infusions of power in our lives, we’d be in real trouble.

Thankfully, God is not just all-powerful; He is also a power-sharing God. He cares so much about us that He’s willing to imbue us with some of His strength if we choose to tap into it. Put another way, God can give us power as power is needed.

A Psalm of Power

Let me illustrate this with a passage of Scripture that is not only magnificent in its descriptive force, but it also contains an encouraging surprise ending.

Trying to creatively express the extent of God’s incredible strength, King David harkened back to his days as a shepherd when he would watch awesome thunderstorms rumble through the desert with frightening intensity. Based on these experiences David extolled God’s great power in Psalm 29:

The voice of the Lord is over the waters. — Psalm 29:3

Apparently, this storm was roaring in from the Mediterranean.

The God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. — Psalm 29:3-5

 

Do you know how big the cedars get in Lebanon? They can grow up to thirty feet in diameter and rise as high as a twelve-story building. But David was saying that a mere whisper from God is enough to instantaneously splinter those towering trees into kindling. That’s power!

[God] makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. — Psalm 29:6

Sirion is a nine-thousand-foot mountain. In other words, God’s voice is like a mighty earthquake that makes the plains and mountain ranges shake and quiver and undulate and dance.

The voice of the Lord strikes
with flashes of lightning. —
Psalm 29:7

Think about the incredible power released by the one hundred lighting strikes happening around the planet every second. Each lightning flash discharges up to one hundred million volts of electricity and can raise the temperature of the air 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is five times hotter than the surface of the sun!1 Yet a single utterance from the lips of the Lord is far more potent than all of the lightning in the two thousand thunderstorms taking place around the world at any given moment.2

The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. —
Psalm 29:8

 

Kadesh is in the south; Sirion is in the north. These references tell us that God’s tremendous power is manifest across the entire land. Nobody can flee from it.

The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. — Psalm 29:9

You may remember the photographs after Mount St. Helens erupted in the state of Washington in 1980. In a blast that had the explosive force of five hundred atomic bombs, giant trees over an area of 230 square miles were toppled like matchsticks and stripped clean of their bark. Millions and millions of trees were destroyed, enough to construct three hundred thousand houses. Yet that is all child’s play for the God of the universe. It would only take a murmur from Him to flatten the entire 815 million acres of the Amazon rainforest.

So what should be our response to our God whose strength is so immense that it completely dwarfs the incredible energy released in an epic desert thunderstorm? David’s response serves as a great example:

And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever. — Psalm 29:9-10

 

What other reaction can we have but to worship such a mighty and breathtakingly awesome God who rightfully reigns over all of His creation?

Then, suddenly, David’s poem takes a surprising turn. After describing God’s incredible power, the psalm concludes suddenly and with a totally unexpected twist:

The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace. —
Psalm 29:11

Here’s the point:

  • our omnipotent God doesn’t hoard His power. Instead, He is an empowering Deity who cares deeply about the people He created and who wants to share His strength with us.

That’s really good news, because it means that in Him we can find peace when we’re panicky, endurance when we’re empty, and courage when we’re cowardly.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,” said the apostle Paul, “but a spirit of power, of love and of self- discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). What a hope-filled promise from an incredibly mighty God!

  1. National Geographic News, “Flash Facts About Lightning,” June 24, 2005, accessed February 3, 2015, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/0623_040623_lightningfacts.html.
  1. “Average Daily Global Lightning Strikes,” July 8, 2005, accessed February 3, 2015, http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/wea00/wea00239.htm.

Excerpted with permission from The Case for Hope by Lee Strobel, copyright Lee Strobel.

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Your Turn

Are you feeling panicky? Empty? Worried? Lacking in courage? God’s got you! He’s in complete control! Rest in Psalm 29 today and know that the Lord is mighty in power. Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

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