“Abraham, when hope was dead within him, went on hoping in faith . . . He relied on the word of God” (Romans 4:18 Phillips). How do you know when hope has died in your life? You start using the word “never.” I’m nevergoing to get married. I’m never going to graduate. I’m never going to get well. I’m never going to get out of debt. I’m never going to be able to let go of my past and forget all of that shame and heartache. I’m never going to be able to change. I’m never going to see this situation turn around. That’s when hope has died. What do you do when your hope dies? Romans 4:18 says, “Abraham, when hope was dead within him, went on hoping in faith . . . He relied on the word of God” (Phillips).
“This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us . . . and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:9b-10 NIV). Paul knew that God works in our lives according to our expectation. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:9b-10, “This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us . . . and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (NIV). The purpose of the dead end is to teach you to trust in God. Why does God let things get so bad and so out of control? So he can force you to learn to trust in him instead of trusting in your own ingenuity and cleverness.
“Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3 NLT).
“Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing” (Romans 4:17b NLT). There are certain dead-end words in life, including “cancer,” “divorce,” “bankruptcy,” “infertility,” and “unemployment.” How do you know when you’re at a dead end? You know it when things get out of your control and you can’t do anything about it. When you’re stuck and waiting for deliverance, you need to remember what God can do. The situation may be out of your control, but it’s not out of God’s control. When you face a dead end, don’t focus on what you can’t do. Focus instead on what God can do.
“Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved’” (Acts 27:31 NIV). Life is not fair. You will have problems, difficulties, and hurts that will make you better or bitter. You will either grow up or give up. Either you’ll become who God wants you to be or your heart will become hard. You have to decide how you are going to respond to the tough times in your life. How will you handle it? When you go through those difficult times, what happens to you is not nearly as important as what happens in you. That’s what you take into eternity — not the circumstances but your character.
“This small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble” (2 Corinthians 4:17 GNT). When we go through difficulties in life, the first thing we often try to do is blame somebody else. But it doesn’t matter where your problem came from — God still has a purpose for it in your life. Even when you do stupid things, God can use it. Even when other people hurt you intentionally, he can use it. Even when the Devil plans bad things for your life, God can bring good out of it. God’s purpose is greater than your problems and your pain. He has a plan! You need to look past the temporary pain and look instead at the long-term benefit in your life.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b NIV). In Acts 27, Paul set sail for Rome with other prisoners, and they faced great difficulties on their journey because the winds were against them. Paul warned the men on one leg of their voyage that if they set sail, they would be caught in a major storm and the results would be disastrous. They decided to sail anyway, making three common mistakes that we also tend to make that get us into trouble.
“I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things he does for me” (Psalm 103:2 TLB). When our dream is delayed, it causes us to forget many things. We tend to forget our dream. We forget what God has done in our lives and his goodness to us in the past. We forget that God is with us. We forget God’s power. The Israelites made this same mistake in the wilderness: “They forgot the many times [God] showed them his love, and they rebelled against the Almighty at the Red Sea. But he saved them, as he had promised, in order to show his great power. . . But they quickly forgot what he had done and acted without waiting for his advice” (Psalm 106:7b-8, 13 GNT).
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV). When you go through the delays in life, don’t get discouraged. Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up! The Israelites did, and it kept them out of the Promised Land. Numbers 14:2-4 says, “All the Israelites grumbled against Moses . . . ‘If only we had died in Egypt! . . . We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt” (NIV). They gave up on their dream. They had been rescued after 400 years of slavery but then wanted to go back because they were being delayed.
“Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him to act … Don’t fret and worry — it only leads to harm” (Psalm 37:7-8 TLB). Proverbs 19:2b says, “Impatience will get you into trouble” (GNT). It’s frustrating when you’re in a hurry and God isn’t. God is never in a hurry! The Bible says a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day to God. One of the most useless things to try to do is to speed up God. When we try to take matters into our own hands and help God out, we get in trouble.