“Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful. Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him.” Colossians 3:15-17 (CEV)
The saints should never be dismayed, nor sink in hopeless fear; For when they least expect His aid, the Savior will appear.
William Cowper was a poet and hymnist living in 1731-1800. He suffered from severe depression, so much that his friend John Newton asked him to co-write the hymn book Olney Hymns with him. Cowper wrote many songs that mirrored his extreme melancholia, including “Far from the World, O Lord, I Flee”, “Heal Us, Emmanuel”, and “O for a Closer Walk with God”. In the song that he wrote titled “The Saints Should Never be Dismayed”, he encourages Christians to never give up hope, no matter how impossible the circumstances are. The song gives 3 different stories that we can take hope in.
This Abraham found, he raised the knife, GOD saw, and said, “Forbear;” Yon ram shall yield his meaner life, behold the victim there.
God asked Abraham to sacrifice the son that had been promised to him. Through Isaac, Abraham would become the father of many nations, and yet God had asked him to place his son on the alter and sacrifice him.
Abraham could have lost hope in the circumstances. Why would God ask him to do that? But Abraham trusted in God, and in his complete obedience God saved Isaac and praised Abraham for his faith.
“And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of Jehovah it shall be provided. And the angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:9-18 (ASV)
Once David seemed Saul’s certain prey, but hark! The foe’s at hand; Saul turns his arms another way, to save th’ invaded land.
When David heard that Philistines were attacking a city, he asked God if he should go and save the city, and God’s answer was yes. He asked twice when his men were afraid to go because they were being hunted by King Saul. They knew that the city wasn’t safe for them, but God told them to go and defeat the Philistines, despite the fear they had.
When Saul heard that David had come to Keilah to protect the city, he thought that God had given David over to him. He quickly went to Keilah to find David; but David hid in the wildernesses of Ziph and Maon and God protected David. Saul did not find him that day.
“And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have made a raid upon the land. So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth [the rock of divisions] . And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi.” 1 Samuel 23:26-29 (ASV)
When Jonah sunk beneath the wave he thought to rise no more; But God prepared a fish to save, and bear him to the shore.
Jonah had fled from God’s calling for him, and when a storm hit and it seemed the boat would be lost, Jonah knew that God’s judgment had come for him and he couldn’t get away. He was ready for death by drowning; embracing the judgment of his sin, he told the sailors to throw him overboard. How could he have known that a fish would come and save him from the deep waters filling his lungs and ending his life?
“And Jehovah prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17 (ASV)
Blest proofs of pow’r and grace divine, that meet us in his word! May every deep-felt care of mine be trusted with the Lord.
The Bible shares other stories where the impossible causes circumstances to seem hopeless. In these stories, God shows his proof of power and grace divine. We can have faith that our deep-felt care can be trusted with the Lord.
Think of the time Jesus met a widow who was burying her son. Her son had died, and she didn’t think there was any way out of her troubles.
“When Jesus came near the town gate, he saw some people carrying a dead body. It was the only son of a woman who was a widow. Walking with her were many other people from the town. When the Lord saw the woman, he felt very sorry for her and said, “Don’t cry.” He walked to the open coffin and touched it. The men who were carrying the coffin stopped. Jesus spoke to the dead son: “Young man, I tell you, get up!” Then the boy sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” Luke 7:12-15 (ERV)
Or also when Jesus and his disciples were out at sea, and a great storm blew over the sea. Waves were filling the boat with water, and no doubt the men inside feared that the waters would overtake them. They didn’t realize the power that their Lord Jesus had over nature.
“When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being covered by the waves; but Jesus was sleeping. And the disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us, we are going to die!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was [at once] a great and wonderful calm [a perfect peacefulness]. The men wondered in amazement, saying, “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Matthew 8:23-27 (AMP)
Possibly the most amazing proof of God’s power to change circumstances is the story in John 20. Mary Magdalene weeps because Jesus’s body is missing from the tomb, but her weeping quickly turns to joy as God shows his grace divine to mankind once again.
“Then the followers went back home. But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. While she was still crying, she bent down and looked inside the tomb. She saw two angels dressed in white. They were sitting where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and one at the feet.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
She answered, “They have taken away my Lord. I don’t know where they have put him.” When Mary said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Whom are you looking for?”
Mary thought he was the gardener. So she said to him, “Did you take him away, sir? Tell me where you put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
Mary turned toward Jesus and said in the Jewish language, “Rabboni.” (This means Teacher.)”
John 20:10-16 (ICB)
Wait for his seasonable aid, and though it tarry wait: The promise may be long-delayed, but cannot come too late.
Wait on the Lord. He will come to your aid in His perfect timing.