There is one thing that adversity, trouble, problems, negative circumstances and bad news do to us as human beings:
They cause us to lose hope
News of high levels of unemployment can cause us to lose hope of finding a job. Losing a job in the midst of a recession can cause us to lose hope of being able to take care of ourselves or our family. A bad report from the doctor can cause us to lose hope of having a long, healthy life. However, the Bible reminds us that we can overcome adversity, trouble, problems, negative circumstances and bad news if we know where our hope lies. If we know that the source of our hope is not in this world but in the Word of God then we can overcome adversity. If we know that the source of our hope is not in what men and women have said about tomorrow but in what God has said about tomorrow then we can overcome bad news. If we know that the source of our hope is not in the stability of our physical environment but in the stability of our spiritual environment then we can overcome trouble and problems.
Abram’s wife Sarai was barren. She could not have children. There was no in vitro fertilization available to help Abram and Sarai. All hope on earth that they could have children was gone. It did not help that they were old. However, one day Abram heard the voice of God and God told him something amazing:
“Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. (Genesis 12:1-2 NLT)
There was only one way for God to make Abram into a “great nation”. Abram needed a son. After Abram heard the Word of God and obeyed God spoke to him again:
Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” (Genesis 12:7 NLT)
A descendant is the biological offspring of someone. Abram and Sarai’s circumstances told them that they could not have children but God told Abram that his biological offspring would possess the land of Canaan.
Sometime after God spoke to Abram and Abram questioned God about not having any descendants. Abram looked at his situation and said that one of his servants will be his heir. However, God told Abram:
“No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” (Genesis 15:4-5 NLT)
Abram and his wife were old and Sarai was barren. Now God was saying that not only will Abram have a son of his own but he will have so many descendants that they could not be counted. Abram’s response to the Word of God is a secret to living an overcoming life:
…Abram believed the LORD… (Genesis 15:6 NLT)
Abram believed the Word of God. Abram believed that what God said would actually happen. Abram’s hope of having a son of his own and having many descendants rested in the Word of God and not in his earthly circumstances. There is hope within the Word of God. Your entire world may be falling apart but if God says that you are on solid ground then you have the hope that you will overcome.
The Psalmist David said:
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NLT)
The Psalmist knew that God said that he would never leave him. Therefore, even in the “darkest valley” or the “valley of the shadow of death” he would not be afraid. Why? Because his hope was not in the path that he was walking on. His hope was in the Word of God. Some of us walk through paths of adversity and trouble that seem to be never ending but the Bible reminds us that all hope is not lost. If God says that there is light at the end of the darkest tunnel there is hope. And if there is hope then you must keep walking until you see the light.
Our hope does not lie in the circumstances we face. Our hope lies in what God has said about our circumstances. Our hope lies in the promises that God has given to us through His Son Jesus Christ. When we know where our hope lies (in the Word of God) then we can boldly move forward knowing that we will overcome.