The Lord Is Our Hope In Times Of Desperation
By Rich Carmicheal
"Christ proves His power in our problems more than in any other way. ...It is in our sorrows and conflicts that Christ reveals Himself to us most."
The preceding statements from last month’s front page article continue to resonate in my mind and heart. Why is it that in the midst of problems, sorrows and conflicts we often experience the greatest revelations of the Person and power of the Lord?
One reason is because the Lord, by His very nature, is drawn toward those who are suffering. "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psa. 34:18). Thus the focus of Christ’s ministry was to "bring good news to the afflicted…to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners" (Isa. 61:1; cf. Luke 4:18). The Lord has deep concern and gives special attention to those who are hurting. He is indeed "our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psa. 46:1).
Desperate for the Lord’s Intervention
A second reason is because in the midst of problems and sorrows we become more open to the Lord and to His ministry toward us. The more we are confronted with our own limitations and lack of resources, the more aware we become of our need for the Lord and His resources. In other words, desperation has a way of driving us to the Lord. Perhaps you have faced, or are facing, overwhelming circumstances that help you identify well with the cry of King Jehoshaphat, "O our God, …we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee" (2 Chr. 20:12). It is when we come to the end of ourselves that we begin to set our eyes more fully on the Lord and learn the deepest lessons about His glorious Person and resources.
As we reach out wholeheartedly to Him in such times of necessity and desperation, we are always guaranteed to find Him. Why? Because He is a compassionate and faithful God. Consider this promise: "But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, …you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you…" (Deut. 4:29-31; cf. Matt. 7:8; Heb. 11:6; 13:5-6). Granted, His timing may not always be our timing, and His answers may be different than we anticipate, but time will always prove the Lord’s faithfulness and compassion toward us. When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (Jas. 4:8).
Take Refuge in the Lord
David had learned such lessons well. Therefore, in times of great trial, he turned to the Lord and entrusted himself and his situation fully to Him. For example, note in the following passage from Psalm 62, which was written in the context of great adversity, David’s complete confidence in the Lord: "My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us" (vv. 5-8).
Dear friend, if you are in a desperate situation, read those verses over and over again. Meditate on each phrase. Trust in the Lord and pour out your heart before Him. Quiet your soul before Him. Wait on Him with great hope and expectation because of who He is and what He is able to do. Depend upon Him as your Rock, your Salvation, your Stronghold and your Refuge. He has everything you need. He Himself is everything you need! His grace is sufficient for you, and His strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Humble yourself under His mighty hand, that He may exalt you in due time; cast all of your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Pet. 5:6-7).
God’s Lovingkindness and Power
David goes on in Psalm 62 to declare, "Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God; and lovingkindness is Thine, O Lord…" (vv. 11-12). What a glorious and perfect combination is power and lovingkindness – and both belong fully to the Lord! Because of His lovingkindness, He cares about us, is faithful toward us, and always works for our good. His lovingkindness surrounds us (Psa. 32:10), supports us (Psa. 94:18), preserves us (Psa. 119:88), protects us (Psa. 40:11), abounds toward us (Psa. 86:5), comforts us (Psa. 119:76), revives us (Psa. 119:88), and follows us all the days of our lives (Psa. 23:6). And because of His power, He is able to fully provide and care for us, no matter what the need. Keep in mind that His power is without any limit – nothing is too difficult for Him!
No wonder that David and other psalmists, as well as a host of other characters in the Bible, expected so much and asked so much of the Lord. They knew that He cared deeply for them and that He had the power to intervene in their lives, even in their most desperate situations. They asked great things of a great God. Read through their cries and prayers and you will see their faith and confidence in the Lord to help, deliver, sustain, save, rescue, protect, shelter, preserve, comfort, encourage, forgive, guide, strengthen, restore, revive and provide. And not only did they believe He would work in their own individual lives, but among them corporately as well.
Oh how I wish I had pages and pages to share their prayers and their declarations of the Lord’s glories and abilities! Consider at least this one inspiring testimony: "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. …In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears. Then the earth shook and quaked; and the foundations of the mountains were trembling and were shaken…. He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. …The Lord my God illumines my darkness. For by Thee I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God, the God who girds me with strength..." (see Psalm 18).
Can such a God meet you in your hour of need and desperation? Can He make a way for you? Can He yet today turn the course of families, churches, cities and nations? What is the potential of desperate prayer offered up to Him by those who trust Him and who desire to see His glory in all things?