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Barry Stagner: Where Have You Placed Your Hope?

Barry Stagner

Our God is so good! The word “strangers” means “sojourners” and would apply to the non-Jews living in Israel. Figuratively, it means “those without rights,” or “the downtrodden.” God also lifts up the orphans and the widows. Such is the loving heart of our Father. But He turns the ways of the wicked upside down! We see that the Lord has mercy on the weaker ones: the impaired, the helpless, the lonely, and the needy. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Ps 34:17-19). 

Have you ever had to wait for something to be delivered to your house or for someone to arrive that you really wanted to see? Sometimes being delivered from our troubles and afflictions involves waiting, but the Lord is still near you during those times, surrounding you with His love and lifting you up. He hears our cries, and even though He is permitting us to go through this seemingly unending period of waiting, He wants us to be content in just knowing that our world isn’t going to be turned upside down, even though sometimes we feel like that. What He promised, He will perform! 

It’s during those times when we feel left alone, having to wait and trust, that it’s all the more crucial that we have hope! We can praise the Lord even in the middle of our distress or trial because, as verse 10 tells us, the Lord shall reign forever to all generations. You can praise Him, because He knows your struggle, and He always defends the righteous. 

Isaiah 54:17 gives us the encouraging news that God is with us and watching over us: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.” 

As believers, God’s imputed righteousness, meaning the righteous life of Christ, has been transferred into our account, so we have the expectation that God will always defend and provide for His children. Sometimes He defends our flesh, but He always defends our souls. This is our inheritance, and not because we earned it or deserve it, but because when God looks at us He sees us in Christ as new creations with all the old things having passed away and all things having been made new. This is what sufficient hope is. 

Do you want to be happy? Happiness can be a vague, ethereal kind of thing. Rather than seeking happiness, put your hope in the God of Jacob. And “Be anxious for nothing, but . . . let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7). 

It’s tragic, but there are an awful lot of Christians today who simply are not happy. And the reason? They act as if this world is our home and we have to get all we can out of it. They’re seeking after something that God has not promised us. This is not our home, and although we’re supposed to take care of the blessings the Lord has given to us, we’re not to place our hope in this world. Tragedies can take that away in a moment. But if we place our hope in the Lord, nothing can rob us of our peace. Troubles only remind us that life is but a vapor, and the next one is long and wonderful and perfect. So how are you doing? Got hope? If yes, then praise the Lord! If you’re weak in that area, ask God to help you shift your thinking over to His plan for you, and be at peace. 


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Barry Stagner

Our God is so good! The word “strangers” means “sojourners” and would apply to the non-Jews living in Israel. Figuratively, it means “those without rights,” or “the downtrodden.” God also lifts up the orphans and the widows. Such is the loving heart of our Father. But He turns the ways of the wicked upside down! We see that the Lord has mercy on the weaker ones: the impaired, the helpless, the lonely, and the needy. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Ps 34:17-19). 

Have you ever had to wait for something to be delivered to your house or for someone to arrive that you really wanted to see? Sometimes being delivered from our troubles and afflictions involves waiting, but the Lord is still near you during those times, surrounding you with His love and lifting you up. He hears our cries, and even though He is permitting us to go through this seemingly unending period of waiting, He wants us to be content in just knowing that our world isn’t going to be turned upside down, even though sometimes we feel like that. What He promised, He will perform! 

It’s during those times when we feel left alone, having to wait and trust, that it’s all the more crucial that we have hope! We can praise the Lord even in the middle of our distress or trial because, as verse 10 tells us, the Lord shall reign forever to all generations. You can praise Him, because He knows your struggle, and He always defends the righteous. 

Isaiah 54:17 gives us the encouraging news that God is with us and watching over us: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.” 

As believers, God’s imputed righteousness, meaning the righteous life of Christ, has been transferred into our account, so we have the expectation that God will always defend and provide for His children. Sometimes He defends our flesh, but He always defends our souls. This is our inheritance, and not because we earned it or deserve it, but because when God looks at us He sees us in Christ as new creations with all the old things having passed away and all things having been made new. This is what sufficient hope is. 

Do you want to be happy? Happiness can be a vague, ethereal kind of thing. Rather than seeking happiness, put your hope in the God of Jacob. And “Be anxious for nothing, but . . . let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7). 

It’s tragic, but there are an awful lot of Christians today who simply are not happy. And the reason? They act as if this world is our home and we have to get all we can out of it. They’re seeking after something that God has not promised us. This is not our home, and although we’re supposed to take care of the blessings the Lord has given to us, we’re not to place our hope in this world. Tragedies can take that away in a moment. But if we place our hope in the Lord, nothing can rob us of our peace. Troubles only remind us that life is but a vapor, and the next one is long and wonderful and perfect. So how are you doing? Got hope? If yes, then praise the Lord! If you’re weak in that area, ask God to help you shift your thinking over to His plan for you, and be at peace.