Sometimes life makes no sense, tragedy hits and God appears not to care. When life gets cruel and God seems distant, silent and unconcerned, can you keep the faith? Can you trust in God’s promises and his revealed character?
To take back your life requires a perseverance of faith. I like to call it, “sanctified stubbornness.” It is faith that stands strong in spite of the circumstances, not because of them.
Years ago I heard a parable that illustrates what I mean by sanctified stubborness:
Once upon a time, there was a farmer who owned an old mule. The old mule fell into an abandoned well. The farmer came home and heard the old mule bellowing at the top of his lungs from the bottom of the pit.
After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer realized there was no way he could get the old mule out of the deep, dry well. Realizing the old mule had seen its best days many years ago, and knowing the well was worthless as a source of usable water, he decided to “kill two birds with one stone.”
He decided the wisest thing to do was to bury the old mule in the well, hence putting the mule out of its misery and eliminating the hazard of the abandoned well at the same time. So he began to haul dirt and shovel it down on the mule to bury it. Initially, the old mule went crazy, thrashing and braying even louder!
“Shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up!” the old mule repeated to himself with each new shovel of dirt. No matter how painful the blows or distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP.
You probably know where this story is headed! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped victorious over the wall of the well to his new found freedom! The very dirt intended to bury, actually lifted him to freedom and life!
His burial became his salvation as he stood on top of his own grave, dirty, bruised, but alive. He refused to accept his fate, and kept believing he would climb out in the end.
When we find ourselves “down in a well,” so to speak, buried by our challenges, we can do what the mule did—we can shake it off and step up! But unlike the mule, we are not alone; God supplies us with the motivation and the means for shaking and stepping up. His Spirit lives within us to empower our steps and His Word gives us the promises we stand upon to get out of our well. So meditate on and memorize scripture so you can call upon God’s promises when times get tough.
Here are my top twelve passages that keep hope alive no matter what I’m facing. There are dozens more, so please share your most encouraging passages of scripture in the comment section below.
A Dozen Reasons to Always Have Hope
God is always with you. Hebrews 13:5 God loves you as His child. Romans 8:15-16
God proved His love at the cross. Romans 8:32
God’s power is available to you. Philippians 4:13
God can exceed your highest expectations. Ephesians 3:20
God understands you and your problem. Matthew 6:8
God promises to supply all your needs. Philippians 4:19
God’s grace is sufficient for you. 2 Corinthians 12:9
God works all things together for good. Romans 8:28
God uses trials to produce maturity. James 1:2-4
God uses trials to display your faith. Philippians 2:15
God’s will is good, acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
(adapted from Less Is More Leadership, Harvest House, 2005; p. 222)