New Hope Notes
When You Feel Absolutely Hopeless
When Life Leaves Quesions
Pastor Richard Waialeale
"When You Feel Absolutely Helpless"
When Life Leaves Questions
Pastor Richard Waialeale
November 23 & 24, 2019
Welcome, New Hope!
Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you felt helpless and unable to fend for yourself? Being powerless and feeling helpless can come from personal, professional, and financial setbacks, such as, getting laid off from work, the stock market crashes, a sudden or chronic illness making you feel powerless. Helplessness can also come from an attack by a burglar or by someone you love. Have you ever heard the phrase: "God helps those who help themselves”? It’s not a quote from the Bible, and it’s not consistent with what the Bible teaches. If God helped only those who helped themselves, we would be in deep trouble—without hope! Helplessness can turn into despair, but there is a way to recover before you fall into desperation and hopelessness.
Everyone will feel helpless at some time in their lives, but not everyone knows how to recover from it. Today, we will examine some possible answers, and learn how to overcome these feelings. Who better to check in with than our friend Job from the Old Testament in the Bible—who overcame every adversity given him!
Before we look at how to survive helplessness, I want to briefly review from the first two chapters of Job: He had a large family and was the wealthiest man in the east, and if it weren't for the revelation that went on in heaven that Satan provoked tests that God placed on Job, we might guess that Job's miseries were caused by his disobedience or by God’s displeasure with him—but that's not true. Job was faithful to God even when the bottom dropped out! Job tells of tragedies that happened all at once: Attackers carried off Job's wealth; raiders killed many of his servants; stole his livestock and his animals; fire from heaven burned his sheep; and a tornado killed his children—and if that wasn't bad enough, Job became afflicted with painful sores from head to toe. Job 1:22 NIV says: “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”
Here are two observations from the book of Job:
1. Suffering is not always a result of sin.
2. When God doesn't seem to answer our question, we have enough inside of us for the test!
Job was in such anguish that he wanted to die; he lost everything that had any meaning (his possessions and family), only his wife was left, and she told Job to die! When we are in the midst of life's tests, we often ask: “Why me? Why do I have cancer? What is the purpose of this test? When no answer is heard, people will sometimes abandon the only one who can help; but Job did not leave or curse God—instead, he replied in Job 2:10 NIV “…Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job knew enough of God's goodness and His unchanging character of faithfulness to answer his own heart's question—even in the midst of life's tests! When everything is lost and your will to live is shaken, your only hope is God—He will enable you to recover!
Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV says: “28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 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.”
The following are three characteristics of God in which Job placed his hope: (Learn and practice these principles and rediscover that God has all the answers, and He is all you will ever need!)
1. In God's Sovereignty
God's sovereignty assures us that when doctors can't help, life's dreams have turned into nightmares, and we are out of control—God is still in control and hears when you call out to Him. Job 7:17 NIV says: “What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention…”
Job 42:2 NIV says: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job was directing his response to God rather than to his three counseling friends. That's important because Job's three friends talked about God, but Job talked to God. Big difference. There will come a time when we must take our prayers directly to God, ourselves.
In the context of studying the book of Revelation, I found that my view of Wrestle Mania and the study of Revelation, have some parallels—similarities: both have spectacular scenes, suspense, and are somewhat entertaining, but there's a major similarity that's even more important—the predetermined outcome! No matter how much suspense and drama we go through, no matter how many spectacular scenes we experience, no matter how many trials we wrestle with in this life, listen Church, we know how it all ends—it's predetermined by God. We win in the end!
Revelation 21:5 NIV says: “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
That's sovereignty! God is in control. Job was helpless, but he was not without hope! Even though Job didn't know that he was the subject of a test between God and Satan, he knew that he belonged to God and that God was in charge. This knowledge was enough for Job, and it should be enough for us, too!
2. God's Righteousness
God will always do what is right and He has full understanding of the situation—His motives are pure, His evaluation accurate, and His knowledge is complete
Job 12:13 NIV says: “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.
When David committed a terrible sin with Bathsheba, he writes of this situation in Psalm 32 NIV: "Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him..."
David gives a description of God's gracious dealing with him and explains that, instead of his sin being credited to his account, God credits His righteousness to him! Because of God's righteousness and David's repentance, his sins are forgiven and covered! We rely on God to do for us what we are incapable of doing for ourselves—that's exactly what God does in Christ. Repentance is a change of heart!
Job was helpless, not knowing the future or the situation in light of the whole picture, but he was not hopeless. Job did not curse God or take his own life because he put his hope in God’s righteousness and knew that God would always do what was right. What was good enough for Job is good enough for us, too!
Hebrews 13:15 NIV says: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”
3. God's Redemption.
Job 19:25-27 NIV says: “25 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”
In the midst of his personal tribulation, losses, and difficulties, Job says. “In my flesh I will see God. This is not the end of the road for me.” No matter how we've been abused, persecuted, or dealt an unfair hand in life, we can hope in God's redemption. We will see God make the correction and payback, if not in this life, in the eternal life. You must come to grips with that.
Job 42:5 NIV says: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”
Many people drop out of the test because they want immediate gratification. You want your situation to improve right away, but only by trusting in God's redemptive power can you find the hope you need to persevere.
Paul says in Romans 8:18 NIV: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that is revealed in us."
In a materialistic and instant society, it's difficult to put your hope in the unseen future; but you must have the courage, strength, and perseverance to move through your (temporary) helpless times. To overcome the helplessness in your lives you must have hope in God's future redemption. Job persevered because his redeemer is God. God's redemption is enough for us!
The book of Ruth tells the story of three women: Naomi and her two widowed daughters-in-law. Naomi told the women that she's going back to her homeland in Bethlehem and that they should go back to their own families, too. In that culture, it was tough being a widow and the only way to survive was to go back to their families. Orpah reluctantly does so, but Ruth has no family and clings to Naomi and in Ruth 1:16 NIV says: “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried." Ruth is a symbol of loyalty and devotion, and she eventually marries Boaz—Naomi’s wealthy relative!
The two main themes in the book of Ruth are God's Providence and God's Redemption. Jesus Christ is our hope and redemption: He purchased us with His own blood and gave us value! Every one of us was on our way to an eternal trash heap, but God saw value in our worn?out, helpless lives and purchased us with the blood of Jesus to restore and transform us into something of infinite worth! I believe the key to the entire book of Job is found in Job 42:5. "My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You."
In times when you feel absolutely helpless, your hope is God—Jesus is all you need!
Questions To Ponder: