Episode #11 Hope for the Weary from a Tsunami. Part 3

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From Today's Episode

In part 3 of the Hope for the Weary series, we’ll see some heartbroken people in the Bible who gave up on God and I’ll share a time I felt God had given up on me. We’ll discover how God can powerfully transform our prayers and guide us deeper into hope when we are weary from waiting for our prayers to be answered.

Key Takeaways:

The P of HOPE: Pray for and pile up promises.

When the pile of hardships overwhelms, a pile of God’s promises overcomes.

When discouragement silences our hope, God’s Word shatters that silence with living Hope.

Delays are not evidence of God’s disappearance. Detours are not unanswered prayers. They are purposeful portions of our journey in this broken world that reveal deeper dimensions of God’s heart of love.

Today's Verses
  • Exodus 4, 5, and 6:9
  • Deuteronomy 31:8
  • Psalm 27:13-14
  • Isaiah 46:9,10
  • Isaiah 64:4
  • Isaiah 55:8-9
Additional Resources

Hope for the Weary from a Tsunami. Part 3

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Unshakeable Hope Podcast, where real life intersects redeeming love. I’m Kelly Hall and this is where we wrestle through faith questions such as, how do I trust God’s heart when his ways and delays are breaking mine? How can I believe God is good when life doesn’t seem good? My prayer is that God would renew our hope in these conversations and that each of us would experience the very real power of his presence and love.

Welcome to part three of our Hope for the Weary series. Today we are talking about those times when the promises of God don’t seem to line up very well with the realities of life. I am gonna show you a group of heartbroken people in the Bible who had completely given up on God. And I’ll tell you about a time when I felt like God had given up on me. In both these situations, you’ll see people who are under a tsunami of heartbreaking emotions. I can’t tell you how much [00:01:00] fun I have in this story, even though it’s a hard story.

Every time I’ve gone to this story, God uses it to raise up courage in my heart and infuses me with fresh hope for the future. So I’m really praying today that God does the same for you. If you didn’t catch the first two episodes in this series, I’d love for you to go back and listen to episode six and seven.

I’ve been teaching from the acronym Hope and simply been sharing personal stories: some funny, some more serious of ways God has rescued my heart with hope when I have been worn out from long seasons of waiting on God to answer my prayers.

These four letters in the word hope are actually four prayers that God’s used to transform my life and show me how to hold on to hope in God during long seasons of waiting.

The letter H is hold tight to God’s word. My frequent prayer over the years: Lord, teach me to hold tight to your word until your [00:02:00] voice is louder than my circumstances, and your love is larger than my fears. The O stands for open. Lord, open my eyes to your kingdom story. Show me what you’re up to and help me see my smaller story within the beauty and power of your much bigger and better story.

Today we’re on the P of Hope, where we pray for and pile up promises. My prayer over the years, Lord, give me a promise, a personal promise that is going to remind me you’re actively working in this area that’s breaking my heart. I cannot tell you that countless times the Lord has breathed fresh hope into my heart. He’s either highlighted a scripture as I’ve been reading or he has reminded me of a story in the Bible. And as I meditated on it, he spoke hope into my heart. So I’m gonna show you one of the stories God’s used. I just wanna say I think Moses has been a mentor for me over the years.

[00:03:00] So the story in the Bible we’re gonna go to is a place where God’s promises didn’t seem to line up very well with the reality of life. He did something that made no sense at all and left everyone completely heartbroken and confused. Now, in Exodus, you’re probably familiar with the story of Moses and the burning bush encounter where God calls him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let his people go.

Moses, as you might recall, argues quite a bit with God and offers multiple reasons why God’s plan is never going to work. This whole exchange is humorous. You can read about it in Exodus 4. But finally, Moses agrees. He goes with his brother, Aaron.

They tell the Israelites that God has heard their cries and is now going to deliver them from slavery and bring them into the land He promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob hundreds of years earlier, so it’s finally gonna happen. [00:04:00] The people were probably pretty skeptical as they’ve been praying for deliverance from the Egyptians for generations.

But Moses and Aaron performed the miraculous signs God’s given them to display his power. Moses’ staff turns into a snake and then back again. His hand becomes lepers and then it’s healed. At the end of Exodus chapter 4, we read that the Israelites were completely convinced this was the real deal.

They believe the message Moses brought from God, they’re so deeply moved by the compassionate heart of God who heard their prayers and saw their suffering, that they fall to the ground and they worship. It’s a pretty inspirational moment for everyone, but as you’re probably aware, things don’t go as they expected.

In fact, things go from bad to worse pretty darn quick. Moses goes to Pharaoh and gives his “let my people go” speech. But Pharaoh [00:05:00] flat-out refuses and he gets so angry, he orders the slave drivers to stop supplying the people with straw, but he still requires them to meet the same daily quota of bricks.

Of course, the workload is absolutely impossible and the Israelite foremen were beaten for not meeting the quota. So Moses and Aaron and all the Israelites from the foreman down to the tens of thousands of the people are absolutely heartbroken by this turn of events. They’re so confused. It doesn’t make any sense.

God promised deliverance, but he is not doing it, and now they’re worse off than they were before they got their hopes up. I’m sure they felt abandoned and betrayed by God. But what’s surprising and instructive for us and for me over the years is we see two polar opposite reactions to the heartbreak.

At first, we see Moses’ response at the end of chapter five. He turns to God with his troubles. He cries out to God. [00:06:00] “Why have you brought so much trouble on these people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he’s brought nothing but trouble on this people, and you haven’t rescued your people at all.”

I love this prayer. It’s such a powerful prayer and a powerful example of how we can pray when God is not making sense. It’s one of the truest, deepest prayers in all of scripture, and God loves to respond to prayers like this.

Moses is basically saying, as you may recall, this whole deliverance thing is your idea. I didn’t even wanna come and you made a really big deal about me coming and a really big deal about me performing all these miraculous signs.nI put myself out there for you and you didn’t come through.

So Moses is confused and heartbroken. There’s this huge conflict in his heart of confusion and doubt. And he comes to God with what seemed like a broken [00:07:00] promise.

His conflict is you’re not only NOT keeping your promise, but you’re doing the exact opposite. One thing I want us to notice that Moses is doing, is he is praying God’s promise back to God. He’s saying, you promised, but it seems like you broke your promise, but can you really break your promise? No, I know you can’t.

So he’s just trying to work this out with God we see Moses is wrestling. This is something God has used to rescue my heart countless times from my heartache. We can go to God and wrestle out our confusion with him.

God responds with this beautiful speech. You can read it at the beginning of chapter 6. God actually repeats his promise back to Moses at least 10 times in different ways using different words. He is saying, I will most assuredly deliver them. And then the other part of God’s response is that he begins and ends and fills his [00:08:00] response with powerful declarations of who he is. At least seven times, He declares his name.

God’s promises are awesome, but they mean absolutely nothing if they’re not backed up by the eternal, all powerful creator God of the universe who always and forever keeps his word. It’s so powerful. I think if we were in a theater and we heard this speech, we would hear a booming voice accompanied with lots of thunder and lightning and the final declaration: “I am the Lord.”

I absolutely love to imagine this moment for Moses. He left that encounter with God transformed. He arrived hopeless, but left full of hope. He was discouraged, but then he was filled with courage, filled with an unshakable conviction that God would absolutely keep his word.

And so now he runs to the Israelites. He’s so excited. Can’t wait to tell ’em what God has said, and [00:09:00] he knows that they are gonna be just as excited. He gives ’em the great news. We’re going to the promised land. Start packing. Don’t be afraid, but in verse nine, we see this incredible response. The Israelites did not listen to him because of their discouragement and their cruel bondage.

This is such a sad moment, and I’m so empathetic. I’ve been there. In their discouragement, they yielded to disillusionment. In their discouragement, they shut the door on a conversation with God. They don’t talk to God about their confusion or heartache. They just shut down. They don’t process their pain.

And honestly, you know, it’s not just this one moment of disappointment. It’s a pile of ongoing disappointments. There’s no telling how many times over the generations these people who were in slavery have cried out for [00:10:00] deliverance , and then would give up on God and stop praying. But then, God had stirred hope in their heart and they had listened to Moses and they had worshiped God and thanked him, and anticipated rescue, only to have their hearts broken and disappointed again.

I love this snapshot of this story because it’s so easy to see ourselves in it. We see two opposite reactions to the heartache.

Moses turned to God. The Israelites turned away from God.

Moses believed God would keep his promise. The Israelites believed God had broken his promise.

Moses met with God. The Israelites missed God.

Moses talked to God about the trouble, but the Israelites let their trouble talk to them. The loudest voice in their life was not God. It was their circumstances. The loudest emotion they felt was abandonment and betrayal rather than love. They [00:11:00] didn’t believe God loved them. They believed God had left them.

Moses doubts were completely transformed with hope, but the Israelites doubts silenced their hope.

I love, I love this it’s almost like a dissection of what disappointments do to us. We see what happened to Moses and we see what happened to the Israelites, and I’m sure we can all relate.

We see once again that it is impossible to land in a place of hope unless we tell God the truth about what we’re feeling; unless we wrestle through our doubts and heartaches so that we can hear his voice over our circumstances, and we can receive his love through our fears.

Kara Powell, who is a researcher with Fuller Youth Institute, she studies why people walk away from their faith, and the number one reason she cites in all of her extensive research is unexpressed doubts. Unexpressed doubts will kill our faith.

We [00:12:00] have to wrestle. We’ve talked about this extensively in the other two episodes, but this has transformed my life. The freedom we have, to wrestle through our doubts with the Lord, is what will bring us to hope. This is how we hold onto hope when we’re weary. This is how we discover hope in our long waits.

So I’m gonna tell you about a time when my heart was broken. You may already know some of my story, but I’m gonna just give you a brief overview of three and a half decades of my life.

We have four adult children, three of whom are hearing impaired. They have cochlear implants and have been raised in the constantly challenging world of Air Force military life. My husband is a pilot in the Air Force. He flew F-16s and of course that meant lots of moves, deployments and family separations.

Eventually, we would also discover that all three of our girls had severe sensory processing disorder [00:13:00] that required ongoing therapy, and on top of that, they were diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, which is a much longer story that is still ongoing.

I wanna tell you about a time my husband, who had just retired from the Air Force and moved us to Colorado, he would continue to fly. He still flies. At this point, he was training new Air Force pilots.

It was a really hard transition for Megan, one of our twins. They were in middle school, which is a tough time for everyone, but it was particularly difficult for her, and she’s given me permission to tell you that she struggled deeply with depression. She struggled with anger about being deaf, and she was angry at God. She was lonely. She was trying to fit in, having a hard time making friends. The wounds of rejection were obvious, and honestly, she felt abandoned by God.

Her depression began to get pretty serious. She was struggling with suicidal [00:14:00] thoughts, and even at one point I would later discover she had considered a specific plan to end the pain. We took her to counselors. She started on medications, which you may know is a long and confusing journey. We made sure we didn’t leave her alone, and this went on for several years.

One day with tears running down her face, she said, I wish someone could just feed me hope through a straw. As you can imagine, my mama’s heart was completely wrecked. Her desperation for hope left me desperate for God’s help and God’s rescue. I said, God, if you don’t do something, we are not getting through this.

Not just once, but numerous times as I parented Megan through this crisis, it felt I was being crushed under a tsunami of emotions. I cried out, “God, I need to [00:15:00] hear you. I need you to speak to me. I need you to give me a promise, a personal promise for her that I can hold on to as we follow you through this crisis.”

One day God gave me that promise: I was reading through Psalm 18. I don’t even know how I ended up there, but I came to verses 16 through 19 and God just highlighted those verses for me and somehow directed those words into my heart with this kind of tender power. So I’m gonna read them to you.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me. He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me for my powerful enemy from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster. But the Lord was my support. He brought me into a spacious place. He rescued me because he delighted in [00:16:00] me.’

I have these verses circled. I have Megan’s name out to the side. These verses gave me so much hope.

One day I remember, I heard Megan in her bedroom at night crying out to God. She was praying and she was begging God to give her a friend, I went downstairs and I said to God, why won’t you give her a friend? This is the only time in my life that God answered a why question. Why questions are not usually very helpful to ask.

But if that’s what we’re feeling, we need to pour it out to God. And in this particular case, God actually answered the why. “Why won’t you give her a friend? God, I know you’re able to do that.” God said, “I’ve given her an uncluttered place to heal.”

That landed on my heart with so much love. God’s love was louder than my fears, and God’s [00:17:00] voice was louder than my circumstances.

The day God led me to Psalm 18, the day he highlighted those verses and he spoke ’em over my heart, I felt the compassionate heart of God. I felt God’s love. I experienced the truth, that God is a God who loves to speak comfort into the deepest places of our pain, and I sense God himself speaking these words over Megan.

When God gives you a promise, a personal promise from his word, through his spirit, when he speaks it to you, it becomes a banner. A banner over your life. And this is what happened to me. God placed this banner, this promise over Megan’s life. He was telling me, Kelly, this is what I’m gonna do.

This what I’m gonna do, I promise. But one thing that I had to be so careful of, and one thing that we have to be very careful of is we can’t put our own expectations on what this will look like or when it will play [00:18:00] out.

We have to surrender. That’s what I had to do. I had to surrender Megan’s story to God. I had to surrender the timeline to God, not just there, not just that day in June of 2006, but countless times over the years, God would continually ask me to surrender my timeline into his hands and trust his timing.

I can’t tell you the number of times over the years, a decade at least, that I have clung to this promise that I have prayed this promise back to God, and God has used it to put hope into my heart. Another promise that I have prayed repeatedly is Psalm 27, 13 through 14, where David declares, I know I’m gonna see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Throughout the scriptures, we see God is good. His love is everlasting, and so we can pray. God, I know I’m gonna see your goodness in the land of the living. So I’m gonna wait. I’m gonna take courage and I’m gonna [00:19:00] wait for you. I know I’m gonna see your goodness even in this hard place, even in this darkness.

Today we are on the other side of this journey, and even though Megan is still on medication for depression and recovering from Lyme disease, she is full of hope. God has fed her hope through a straw. God has filled her heart with hope.

He has healed her of anger, and she has a close relationship of the Lord. She is still recovering from Lyme disease, but she is getting better. She is spending less time in bed and we don’t even know why she’s getting better, but we know God is working in miraculous ways to heal her body just as he has healed her heart.

I wanna just encourage you that in your weary places when you are waiting on God to ask him for a promise, this will cultivate hope in your heart in ways that I can’t even describe. It will change the way you pray, and it will help you hold onto [00:20:00] hope in a faithful God for years to come.

This promise reminded me, God is at work even when I can’t see it. God has a timeline. He hasn’t left us. Our delays are not evidence of God’s disappearance and our detours are not unanswered prayers. They are purposeful portions of our journey in this broken world, and they do reveal deeper dimensions of God’s heart of love,

In our delays and detours, we have to remember that God’s power is not diminished and His love for us is not being withheld. His purposes and plans will be accomplished in our lives. He always keeps his promises.

One of the lies that takes root in our heart when we don’t see an immediate answer to prayer is that God doesn’t love us. God’s abandoned us. God has betrayed us, God has left us, but all of those are lies. [00:21:00] His ways and delays leave us confused and that’s where the conflict arises. God’s not making sense.

One of the things I wanna show you is that in isaiah 55: 8-9, it says, for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways declares the Lord, as the heavens are higher than the earth. So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts, then your thoughts.

I love that because God is saying, when you’re confused, don’t let that surprise you. You can expect to be confused because you don’t think like God and you don’t understand like God.

When the Israelites life got worse, after they believed God was gonna rescue them, they couldn’t even listen to God. But Moses opened his heart to God.

Delays and detours will arrive. They will leave us disappointed. We can expect this and we can expect to hear the lie that God is neglecting us, abandoning us, or betraying us, but we’re at a crossroads and we [00:22:00] need to realize at this point we have a choice.

Will we let our disappointments drive us away from God? Or will they drive us deeper into the heart of God? Will we let them slam the door on hope or will we intentionally open that door to the living hope of God? Yes, God’s ways and delays will confuse us, but he never leaves. His love for us, never fades. He never lets go of us.

Here’s what we discover about Moses. Moses treasured God’s word. He told him the truth about his confusion and heartache. He prayed the promise. He prayed the word back to God, and this is what postured his heart to hear and receive all God wanted to say. This postured his heart to receive God’s love. He had an experience with God that transformed his life.

And I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve cried out to the Lord to give me a fresh promise, and he’s [00:23:00] done it. And that’s what I love about God. And I say this all the time, but he is a God who speaks and we can trust him to speak to us personally, powerfully and practically.

When the disappointments and difficulties pile, we need a bigger pile of God’s promises to help us grab hold of the one who never leads and never lets go. There is nothing like the promises of God to bring hope and peace to the conflict of confusion that is warring in our heart.

When the pile of hardships overwhelm, we need a pile of God’s promises to overcome.

When the pile of hardships overwhelms a pile of God’s promises overcomes.

When we pray the living act of eternal word of God, we are transformed.

When discouragement threatens to silence our hope, God’s word shatters that silence with living hope. No matter how hopeless [00:24:00] things look, we know that nothing and no one can stand in God’s way. His promises will be fulfilled in our lives. We can believe it.

We need to remember to surrender our expectations of how God’s promises are gonna play out, and we need to surrender our timeline to God and trust. “God, You know what’s best! You will take good care of me. You promised you will do it. That settles it.

I just wanna close with this encouragement. If you’re feeling confused by the story that God is writing in your life, pray that God would give you a promise I could spend 30 minutes just taking you through the Bible and showing you the promises God has given me as we have been walking through three and a half decades of a long story that is not fully resolved, but we have experienced God’s faithfulness and we’ve experienced his love.

God is good and he does keep his word and he loves you more than you can imagine. So cry [00:25:00] out, don’t shut down like the Israelites did. Turn to God, talk to him about your troubles, and don’t let your troubles talk to you.

So I’m gonna close with our three prayers that we’ve learned so far.

Lord, teach me to hold tight to your word until your voice is louder than my circumstances and your love is larger than my fears.

God, open my eyes to your kingdom story. Show me what you’re up to and help me see my smaller story within the beauty and power of your much bigger and better story.

Lord, give me a promise I’m struggling right now to have hope. Give me a personal promise that reminds me and convinces me that you are actively working in this area that is breaking my heart.

I just wanna read three promises that we can hold onto when we’re weary. One I’ve mentioned numerous times, it’s one of my favorite promises. Deuteronomy 31:8.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. [00:26:00] He will never leave you or forsake you. So don’t be discouraged and don’t be afraid.

And then I wanna read Isaiah 46, I am God and there is no other. I am God and there is no one like me. My purpose will stand. I’ll do all that. I please. What I’ve said, I will bring about what I have planned. I will do.

And Isaiah 64. Since ancient times. No one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

Thank you, God, that you are working in every area that concerns our heart. I pray for each person that is listening today, that you’ll speak a specific and personal promise over their lives in the areas where their hearts are breaking.

Bring hope to our weary hearts. We love you so much. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Thanks for listening to the Unshakeable Hope podcast. [00:27:00] If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe and leave a review. To continue the conversation and for free resources, be sure to visit me@kellyhall.org. Thanks so much.

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