There is an epidemic of hopelessness that has been sweeping over the world in the last few months. Even as we begin to open our doors and peek out at the world, we are unsure of the future. We are unsure of what will happen next. It’s almost like we are just waiting for the other shoe to fall.
Our nation and the world is reeling from the fact that we cannot seem to save people from this invisible enemy and so we stand with arms limp not knowing what to do, which direction to turn or where to go. We are hopeless.
All the while, the evil one sits back and laughs at us. Remember He has one objective because at his core he is a thief. He wants to steal, kill and/or destroy us and our effectiveness for the Kingdom of God. He wants to steal our impact on the world around us. He was to destroy our credibility. But more than anything he wants to kill us because that will take us out for good or so he thinks.
Yet in that same verse, God embeds a whole universe of hope. Because God sent Jesus to the world with a different agenda. When He came He brought with Him the ability “to give us everything in abundance, more than we expect—life in its fullness until we overflow,” as it says in John 10:10 TPT.
Our hope lies in Him and yet we run to so many other things looking for that elusive thing called hope. We hope our money will get us through. We hope our government will figure something out to protect us. We hope our doctors and scientists will find a cure. We hope we can hide long enough so this plague can’t find us. We hope that eating all this food will make us feel better.
Although many of those things may help us temporarily, our real hope is found in the Maker of Heaven and Earth. He has a plan and His plan will be carried out. Nothing will stop it! The evil one will try, like a villain in some world-wide video game. The problem is he has never been able to understand that there is a Maker of this game called life and in the final analysis, God wins.
The Marathon Called Life
We follow God because He already knows the plan of our lives. He not only knows it, He tells us that the plans He has for us are plans for our “good and not for disaster, to give us a future and a hope,” (Jer. 29:11 NLT).
In Hebrews 11, the writer goes through a list of great men and women of faith. Then Hebrews 12 starts out, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We are in a marathon race and there are things that hold us back from running the race. I always saw the word “weight” in that verse as related to me physically. I can’t run a race if I am carrying 50, 100, or 200 extra pounds.
When I weighed 250 pounds more than I do now I could barely walk, much less run any kind of race. I could still be wallowing in that issue and difficulty, but I know and I even knew and believed then that Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my life, had a different kind of story He wanted me to live. I just needed to get on board with the script He had already written for me. I needed hope.
The word “hope” today has come to mean wishful thinking. I hope this virus won’t invade my family. I hope we have enough money to make it through this crisis. I hope we can get groceries. I hope I can keep working. I hope the kids can go back to school. I hope this whole thing will be over soon.
However, the biblical definition is something entirely different. It is the confident expectation of what God has promised. The strength of that isn’t in what I believe. It is in God’s ability to be faithful.
The Lie I Believed
When I was a kid I heard my mother and grandmother talking about how much weight I had gained and how they kept just having to buy me bigger and bigger clothes.
“It’s like she can’t stop gaining weight,” my mother said. She was frustrated at having to buy me new clothes with a small budget. “I can’t lose weight” began to take root in me as a truth. I really wasn’t fat as a kid, I was just growing. Her concern was that she didn’t have enough money to buy me different clothes or shoes.
I was the oldest in our family and even of the grandchildren. There was no one to hand down clothes to me. But what I heard was that I was fat and it was my fault, but I couldn’t do anything about it. So the lie that got embedded in me was I can’t lose weight. It was reinforced to me time and time again as I got into my teen and then adult years and tried every diet imaginable without success.
I was destined to be fat. There was no hope for me. I had allowed this emotion of hopelessness to become one of my core life values. So, when the feeling of utter despair at my plight would overshadow me, there was only one recourse I knew to make me feel better. I would eat, preferably something made with sugar and flour, something like my grandmother would have made.
I Am Weak
The reality of how to stop eating sugar was the challenge, though. I was, and still am, like Paul. I have a weakness. Scripture doesn’t tell us what Paul’s weakness was. It does tell us he asked God three times to remove it.
Paul says, “Then He told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness,’” (2 Cor. 12:9 MSG.)
Paul learned humanity has limitations. Those limitations, though, are not reasons to quit. They should lead us to understand, the weaker we get, the stronger we become, when we rely totally on God’s strength instead of our own.
As I surrender to God each day, I find renewed hope in the grace and strength that He pours into my life. Whatever He calls me to do, I can do it because it is not my strength I’m drawing from. It is His. In the process, I’ve lost 250 pounds by surrendering my weakness to Him and following His prescription for my life.
There is real, true hope for the journey out of sugar addiction, binge eating and obesity. The main key is surrendering the foods we eat to God and allowing Him to lead us to victory. God cares about our health. He cares about us. He is our only hope.
For more on this topic, listen to Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast, episode 29.