The LORD will fulfill His purpose in me. O LORD, Your loving devotion endures forever — do not abandon the works of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8)
We can see some things clearly. We can evaluate circumstances correctly, and actually do so from time to time. Yet it seems so often we must fight through the fog of our own fears or pride to see anything as it truly is. An innocent word spoken by a friend can be misinterpreted and meanings put into it by our overactive imagination. We may feel betrayed when friends are loyal, and feel confident when the very ground we stand upon is about to be upturned.
The Lives of Great Believers
Great men and women of the Bible all fell into this web of discouragement. Peter faltered as he walked on the water when he saw the wind and the waves. Moses cried out to God in frustration in leading Israel because of their constant complaining. Martha asked the Lord, “Don’t you even care?” Wherever we look in the lives of great believers, we will see that they each fell in their own way into discouragement when their fears overran their faith.
Because our hearts are so prone to being overrun by these emotions, the Bible repeatedly reminds us of God’s faithfulness. Even Christ, who never succumbed to discouragement to the point of unbelief, was ministered to by angels following His wilderness temptation experience: “Then the devil left Him, and angels came and ministered to Him” (Matt. 4:11). If the perfect Son of Man sought the ministry of hope, we should not be surprised when we also need it.
The Myth of Position
David had endured much difficulty in his journey to become king. He demonstrated the false human thinking, which we all have, that once he became king his troubles would be over, that faith in God’s deliverance was needed when he was running from Saul, but once he came into his kingship it would no longer be necessary. However, David discovered, as we all do, that even the seemingly powerful are set in “slippery places” (Psalm 73:18). The only true hope that any of us have is found in God and in His faithfulness to His purposes to redeem His people.
Confidence in God
Between these two extremes, one of seeing an enemy under every rock and within every shadow and the other of a false confidence of earthly security, we find confidence in the faithfulness of God. There is really no place else to stand, but we find that this is exactly what the Lord desires of us — hearts that simply trust in Him and in His faithfulness to His work of redemption in us. Our hope is not in “problemless-ness” nor in our own genius, for that, too, can and will eventually fail. Our hope is in God.
He who in Christ died for us, who has from eternity past planned to redeem us, He who did not spare His own Son, He will also in Him “freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32). He will not abandon the works of His hands in our lives, but will redeem us fully.
Philippians 1:7: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
Christians can look back on certain failures in their lives and be filled with regret. Regret, which could take us to repentance, confession, and to God’s cleansing us of sin, can morph into an unhealthy obsession with our failure. The Bible calls this “worldly sorrow” which does not lead anywhere but downward to depression and failure (2 Cor. 7:10).
In dealing with our regrets, if they are only guilt-laden and negative memories of failures, we will not find in those types of regrets positive power for living for God. Perhaps the most justifiable regret is of those times in our lives, whether they are days or years, when we did not live in the overflowing love and life of God.
A married man who only regrets the harsh words he spoke to his wife has not thought thoroughly enough. He should also regret the lack of joy he could have experience with her, not enjoying her love for him, and the positive words he could have said. And that regret could then lead not just to not saying bad words, but also to enjoying living with her and enjoying life together.
And so it is with God. As we believe in His faithfulness to us, of His desire for our redemption, we find His power available for us to move forward in His grace to intimacy and power in Him. He will not abandon His work.