Summary: When you’ve reached the end of your rope it is time to hope and exercise faith.
Hope and Move
Intro: Troubles are universal. When you’ve reached the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. The night is not forever.
I. Bleak situation
a. Things were bad where they were
b. Things were worse behind them
c. Only one option – HOPE
i. When the situation is bleak God has a great opportunity
1. Oppression/depression at the job
3. Physical pain
4. Lost loved ones
5. Marital discord
7. Sin or bad habits
a. Only one option – HOPE in God
d. Only after there was no hope without Him did God cause a great change
i. Sometimes we must bear heavy burdens but we must HOPE in God
a. Don’t try to bare yesterday’s and tomorrow’s burdens. A patient who had met with a serious accident once asked a doctor, "Doctor, how long shall I have to lie here?" The answer, "Only a day at a time." Let us be faithful for one short day, and the long years will take care of themselves.
ii. These men did not know what God had done when they stepped out in faith
1. Do whatever God tells you to do
a. A grocer was down in the cellar of his shop when he noticed his small son standing at the edge of the open trap door. He called up, "Here I am, Sonny, jump down." But the boy hesitated. "I can’t, Daddy; I can’t see you." Up came the answer, "No, but I can see you; trust me and jump, and I will catch you." At this point, the boy jumped because he trusted his father.
2. Moving for you may be PRAISING God before you see the answer
3. TRUST and OBEY
II. Blessed situation
a. God changed their circumstances DRAMATICLY
b. They could not have known what God had done without moving
i. An old country preacher used to say: "There are two parts to the Gospel. The first part is believing it, and the second part is behaving it." The hearer only is the one who is satisfied with just believing without behaving. That is what James describes as dead faith (James 2:17)
c. The hopeless situation was SUDDENLY changed
i. Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac when SUDDENLY God turned his bleak situation into a blessed situation
ii. Hannah prayed and prayed for a child when SUDDENLY God gave her a child, turning her bleak situation into a blessed situation
1. She MOVED. She told God that she would give her son to Him
iii. Jonah was in the belly of a fish when SUDDENLY God turned his bleak situation into a blessed situation
1. He moved. He had to cry out to God
iv. The woman with the issue of blood was SUDDENLY healed, her bleak situation turned into a blessed situation
1. She moved. She had to press through the crowd
III. Brag on God
a. Recognize that you are not an island; there are other hurting people who need encouragement
i. A pastor who visited an old man suffering from painful rheumatism found him with his Bible open in front of him. The minister noticed that the word "proved" was written repeatedly in the margin. He turned over a few pages and found, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." "Proved." And so it went on through the Book.
ii. We can build the faith of doubters with our examples of God proving Himself faithful