Paging through one of my regular devotionals called “Streams in the Desert” I came across a warning from Madame Guyon, a believer in the 16th century. She experienced great suffering and then the death of two loved ones in close succession. Despite her experiences, she believed in God’s perfect plan even through great suffering and she wrote:
“I implore you not to give in to despair. It is a dangerous temptation, because our Adversary has refined it to the point that it is quite subtle. Hopelessness constricts and withers the heart, rendering it unable to sense God’s blessings and grace. It also causes you to exaggerate the adversities of life and makes your burdens seem too heavy for you to bear. Yet God’s plans for you, and His ways of bringing about His plans, are infinitely wise. “
Hope is one of the greatest possessions of the heart.
The older I get and the more life experience I have, the more I have realised how easy it is to surrender all hope. Without hope the heart truly does “wither.” Getting a believer to surrender their hope is indeed a masterful strategy from our Adversary: opening a door from which he can usher in such sadness, weariness, depression and doubt. Surrendering our hope truly does cause us to “exaggerate the adversities of life” and “make our burdens heavier,” as Madame Guyon puts it.
She warns us: “Do not give in to despair.” It truly will be experienced as a temptation to give up hope. But giving in to this temptation is a personal decision to surrender our hope, a choice that we make in certain moments that the enemy presents the option to us: like when we are alone, or lying in the dark unable to sleep, or moments when there seems just too much to manage all at once and we don’t have answers. In these moments when we are weak, each of us is tempted to surrender our precious treasure of hope to him, who would steal everything including life from us. He is truly out to steal, kill and destroy and very often stealing our hope is only just his first step. (See link: Who Is Your Enemy?)
In that moment when we give in to the temptation, Satan exchanges our hope for the indulgence of self pity, only to discover that this is an empty gift indeed, with limited comfort and its end effect is despair. Nothing the enemy offers can ever equate to the value of our hope. As long as we have hope, we are still in the battle with our eyes fixed to the horizon from where my help comes from (Psalm 121:1). As long as we have hope, there is still a reason to fight on.
This is what Madame Guyon suggests and it echoes to Hebrews 12 which calls us to refocus again, by putting our “eyes on Jesus.” I was meditating on Madame’s words in conjunction with Psalm 24:1;8;10…
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty – he is the King of glory.”
In light of this I asked myself who is this God you call upon, Michelle?
- He is God who owns the earth and everything in it.
- The Lord strong and mighty, King of heaven’s armies (the Message bible says: God of the Angel Armies), He is always victorious in battle.
- The ALL mighty God, the King of Glory.
We do not give in to the dangerous temptation to surrender our hope because we are not in this life alone. Our ally or partner in life is none other than our Mighty God. He is our reason to hope and this gift of hope is our most precious procession.
The truth is that only we can decide to surrender our hope, it cannot forcefully be taken from us.
Help me Father, to understand and value the gift of hope that You have given me as believer. A hope based on a relationship with You, which You made possible through Jesus. This hope is mine as long as I hold on to it and never surrender it to anyone. Help me protect the hope I have, by focusing on You and only You. Keep my eyes ever on You, ever trusting that the King of Heavenly Armies who is on my side.