Apples of Gold

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Who against hope

‘Who against hope believed in hope.’

Romans 4:18

Disappointment and frustration are two words that are well known to Christians who live in this world. Often it seems that we take one step forward and two steps back. How true it is that when we would do good, evil is present with us.

A good work may greatly encourage us for a while but then pride or some other sin gets in the way, and the discouragement we feel, overshadows any good that we may have done.

Many of us feel that disappointment must be our middle name. We try our best, slogging away daily only to be slapped in the face with one disappointment after another.

We question ourselves, our motives, and our actions, and then we tie ourselves in knots wondering what we have done wrong to deserve or warrant yet another let down.
Good results from a medical checkup go for nothing when a sharp pain in the chest comes our way. We Wait for important exam results only to find that we have failed. Job interviews go well, yet a week later we receive the dreaded letter beginning, 'We regret to inform youŠ'

People will often tell us that something better will come along but I know for a fact that when relationships with other people are concerned that can prove to be of little comfort.
I have many friends who have enjoyed a healthy loving relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend only to be shattered when that relationship comes to an unexpected end.
Many wonder if they will ever find the right person. Single people can fret for months on end about this, and as the years go by it gets worse instead of better.

Some of the finest Christians I know, though, are single.

Many of them are content with their portion, however there are a few that dearly long for a companion in this life. Their schoolmates were married long ago and they cannot but wonder why the Lord is leaving them behind.

They feel like they are aging on a daily basis.  Their biological clocks go on ticking. Why doesn't God bring the right person into my life TODAY?
Colleagues mock, so called friends make a joke about it, asking the frustrated one when they are going to get married! If only they knew the hurt that causes!

Our tongues can be vicious weapons at times!

I remember many years ago, trying to comfort a Christian friend of mine who had just split up with her boyfriend. Both had applied for Mission work. The Lord wanted her to serve Him. There was no place for her boyfriend. She had to make the choice between her Saviour and the deep feelings in her heart.

She came to stay with my wife Ann and I for a week or so. She cried for what seemed like days on end. Nothing I could say or do gave her any comfort. Sometimes it's just better just to put your arm around someone and say nothing. This was one of those occasions. Of course I didn't learn this lesson until I had exhausted myself trying in vain to comfort her.

Months later she started her service for the Lord, and she was undoubtedly one of the most brightly shining Christians that I have ever met. She served the Lord faithfully for I think nine years or so, until a family illness drew her back home again.

God had in the meantime had been working in the heart of a young man. He had had him take a peculiar journey, travelling many hundreds of miles from his home. His heart and employment changed, though, along with his address. He had been a very successful insurance agent, but he found that he had to give that up.

He had been taken from darkness to light. A new song was now in his mouth and he wanted to serve His new Master Jesus Christ in the work of the ministry.
As the Lord prepared him for the task ahead, He brought him to live next door, in a rented accommodation next to my friend!

Months passed and their friendship blossomed. Long walks in the summer evenings soon led to a healthy romance. They married, and I cannot remember seeing a more radiant bride.
Disappointments, tears, heartache and sorrow were all forgotten as they were united as man and wife.

Now they serve the Lord together in the place He chose for them.
Had I told my friend years earlier as she cried her eyes out that things would work out in a wonderful way for her, she would not - could not - have believed me! God does ALL things well.

Our disappointments are His veiled appointments.

Perhaps today you are in a position where you are hoping against hope. It is not for the first time either.

Many years have passed since first you believed and trusted, yet there is still no sign of your prayers or desires being answered.

But think now - what could be more impossible than for a hundred year old man and his ninety year old wife to have another child?  Abraham did not look at the impossibility. He simply took God at His word. That's what we have to do! Each day we must fight against unbelief and the temptation to give up.

We must learn to rest in the words that our God has spoken to us. In that regard there are two verses further on in this chapter that I would like to quote to you.

They contain words of great encouragement. I pray that you will take time to learn these two verses by heart and keep them as a special token of God's love for you.  Repeat them to yourself whenever you are tempted to doubt, and learn to rejoice in the Unseen.

They go like this: 'He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.' Romans Chapter 4 Verses 20 & 21


Author - Iain Mackenzie  Edited by - Pastor Al Moak