“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
“Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.”
“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
“Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer.”
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
“I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
“I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is a step forward.”
We all go through difficult circumstances and experience situations when what we’ve been longing for, perhaps for a long time, either isn’t happening and seems impossible or we have suffered failure and loss and in both instances we feel like giving up. The bible doesn’t promise an easy life; in fact Jesus said in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble...” If that had been the end of His statement we might have reason to feel hopeless, but that’s not the end of it because He went on to say “...But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So the purpose of this article is to give you some biblical strategies to implement when you feel as if the world is overcoming you!
1. Release HOPE! Pray for POWER!
The Oxford dictionary defines “hope” as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen” and that is how we generally use the word. However that is not the biblical definition of hope. In the New Testament, the noun, which has been translated “hope” is elpis (ἐλπίς). It means hope, expectation, trust, confidence - properly it is an expectation of what is sure and certain. It is much more than a desire for a particular thing to happen, rather it is the certainty that it will happen! This is why God is described as the “God of hope” in Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
God is the God of certainty and confidence; this is why we can trust Him and even have joy and peace when things do not seem to be going the way we want. But we can't do this in our own strength- it is by the power of the Holy Spirit! However thankfully our Father in Heaven does not withhold His Spirit from us (Luke 11:13) and his power that is at work within us is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)! So we can confidently trust Him to bring about those things which He has promised us. His word never fails (Luke 1:37)!
Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Faith is built on hope and if we lose hope in the promises God has given and in His word then we have nothing on which to base our faith.
Abraham waited years for his promise to come to pass. There must have been times he was tempted to lose hope but we have his example in:
Romans 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
Let’s look a little closer at the life of Abraham.
In Genesis 12, Abraham received his call from The Lord. At that time Abraham’s name was simply Abram, which means “exalted father”.
The Call of Abram
1The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
4So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
1After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
2But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
4Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
So in Genesis 12 when Abram was 75 years old, God promised to make him into a great nation i.e. that he would have descendants who would multiply into a great nation. But at this time Abram had no children. Then in Genesis 15, when Abram is still childless, God tells him he will have a son and heir of his own flesh and blood and Abram believed the Lord! However 10 years after the original promise he and his wife Sarai still had no children, so Abraham took matters into his own hands! At the suggestion of his wife Sarai (Genesis 16:2), Abram slept with her maidservant Hagar and she became pregnant:
15So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Then God reiterated His promise to Abram and changed his name to Abraham, meaning “exalted father of many nations” and his wife’s name to Sarah meaning “princess”. Notice that these name changes came before the promise was fulfilled as God sees us as we are in the future, not as we are now (cf Judges 6:12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.")
Genesis 17:1-6, 15-22
1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
3Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4“As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
15God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
17Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
19Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.d I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.
1Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3Abraham gave the name Isaaca to the son Sarah bore him. 4When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”7And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
So we need to encourage each other to hope against hope just like Abraham! But oftentimes we have to wait for promises to be fulfilled. Just because your promise has not come to pass yet, don't stop hoping and you will see it! The Hebrew verb “qavah” in the Old Testament is translated both as “to hope” and “to wait”. So we may have to wait for what we are hoping for, but Psalm 27:13-14 tells us to remain confident and wait for (or hope in) the Lord!
Psalm 27:13-14 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
2. PERSEVERE: don't give up!
As the promise often takes time to come about we must continue to persevere:
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
3. PRAISE God in the midst of the difficulty!
Praise releases the power of God for breakthrough:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
2 Chronicles 20:21-26
21After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
22As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day. (Berakah means praise)
4. DECLARE the word of God over you situation!
There is power in the word of God and we have the authority to use it. To use a well-known quote: "don't speak to God about your mountain, speak to the mountain about your God!"
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome ALL the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you
"Truly I tell you, if anyone SAYS to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. (Also see Matthew 17:20 and Matthew 21:21)
Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Also see Matthew 18:18)
5. BELIEVE God's will for you is wholeness in every area (shalom-completeness, soundness, welfare, peace)!
Refuse to give in to fear that breakthrough will not come in your situation. God is your Father, He loves you and wants only your best!
Psalm 35:27 May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, "The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant."
Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace (SHALOM) was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 54:17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD.
Mark 5:36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, "Don't be afraid; just BELIEVE."