Do you ever feel like that? I'm sure you do. Seriously...I haven't blogged in so long because soooo much in life is happening, as it has a tendency to do. And, now that I have a minute to sit down and try to collect my thoughts, they're kind of everywhere!
One thing I do know is that on the subject of Trust and Faith, one of those many unexpected things popped up that has once again caused me to (as someone I just read so eloquently put it) put some more shoe leather to the road. Honestly, with all of the various expected and unexpected things going on, I don't know how I could respond at all to them if not for having the strength of the One who cares about me enough to be my strength and hope and to even surround me with others who care about me, support me, and encourage me.
Strength...what a concept! You know, I used to ask Him to give me strength in different times of my life...that was until I went through some times in which I had to ask Him to not just GIVE me strength, but to BE my strength. I'll let you digest that one for a while. If you've been through those times like that, you may know what I'm talking about. Times when just asking Him to give you hope seems almost pointless, because He (especially in those times) has to literally BE your hope. The times when you literally have nothing left. Those times.
In light of those thoughts, I searched the word "strength" (on BibleGateway.com) and found some thoughts that speak to what I am describing...here are a few of them just in case you were curious. (Notice how they say not only that He GIVES me strength...but He IS my strength.)
"The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." (Exodus 15:2)
"[ For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: ] I love you, O LORD, my strength." (Psalm 18:1)
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped." (Psalm 28:7)
"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." (1Corinthians 1:25)
And also Hope...
"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you." (Psalm 39:7)
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." (Psalm 62:5)
"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word." (Psalm 119:114)
"I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word." (Psalm 119:147)
" Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the LORD, who remains faithful forever." (Psalm 146:5-6)
"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:30-31)
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." (Lamentations 3:21-22)
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And 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 5:3-5)
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. " (Romans 12:12)
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)
"Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:11-13)
"This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things." (1 Timothy 4:9-11)
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." (1 Timothy 6:17)
"Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." (Hebrews 6:17-19)
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." (Hebrews 10:23-24)
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrew 11:1)
"But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 3:14-16)
Whew!!!! I HOPE (pun intended) you stuck with me through all of that! What can I say, I can't help but get carried away with the HOPE that I have in Him! Can you blame me!?!
Okay, okay, for my skeptical friends out there...you know who you are...if you hung with me through all of that, I'm proud of you, for one! And also, I'm sure you have lots to digest and lots of thoughts about all of the above. Let me just pose this thought/question to you...
If you're the one who is right about all of this (or even the thought that God doesn't exist because you can't prove it to your mind, so all of the above is moot)...if you are right, then what will I lose by believing all of this here and now?
AND...furthermore...if I am (and His word is) right, just think of what is at stake...on both the "good" and "bad" end of it all.
Soooo...consider...ponder...digest...take a step of faith and give Him a chance. It's win-win either way if you do!
(Oh, and for all who are reading this...skeptics included...I highly recommend going back to each of those passages I listed above and finding them in the Bible and reading the scriptures and/or entire chapter around each one. Soooo much good stuff in there! Remember...an easy way to do that is on BibleGateway.com )