Gregory Dickow - 5 Reasons You Can Be Full of Faith and Hope Today
Well, we're living in some really difficult and challenging times, and we know the Bible says in the last days there will be all manner of negative things, and we're seeing so much negative news and negative experiences that people have. But God wants us to provide something to counteract what this world is offering, this world of negativity, this world of bad news, this world of fear, this world of anxiety. God has created hope for us and to bring to others as well, and God created faith and God created optimism. And there's enough pessimism in this world, there's enough negativity in this world, and it seems like the negative voices are louder than the positive voices. So we need to get louder, we need to trumpet from the rooftops.
The Bible says shout it from the rooftops, what God has done for you. Shout it from the roof, the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God created these forces of faith and optimism. God created these forces of positive energy, faith energy. When that woman touched the hem of his garment, literally faith energy went through Jesus's body into that woman and healed her. It's time for us to be the force for good in this world. But negativity seems to be louder in these days than faith and hope and love. Remember, God said, "Faith, hope, and love, abide in these three; and the greatest is love".
The reason there's so much anxiety and negativity and this world is because there's such a lack of love, there's such a lack of empathy, there's such a lack of of truly trying to understand what somebody else is going through. We have to be bigger people than what's happening in our world. We have to be the bigger person in our relationships. We have to be the bigger person when we feel hurt. We have to be the bigger person when something negative happens. It's our responsibility in this life as believers, as sons and daughters of God. And I'm gonna give you quickly five reasons that you can be full of faith and positivity and optimism in these days that we're living in. We need to know why we can have faith today, why we can have hope today. We need to know that no matter what's going on in our lives, that God is up to something bigger. And I want to share with you, as I said, these five simple reasons to have faith, to have hope, to have optimism today.
Number one, the number one reason that you can have hope today, the number one reason you can keep going even though you feel like givin' up, is God hears you. God hears you, God hears your cry. Love what he says in Psalm 116, verse 1: "I love the Lord, because he heard me". I talked about why we love him last time we were together, but I want to give you another reason why we can love the Lord. He said, "I love the Lord, because he heard me". He heard my cry, he inclined his ear to me. God's leaning in when we pray. God's leaning in when we look to him. God's leaning in no matter what we do, but he's listening to your prayer, he's listening to your cry. He hears your cry. He's listening to your pain, he's listening to what you're going through. Sometimes we just need somebody to listen to us.
What makes us love somebody is that they're willing to listen to us, and God listens to you. I know that we need to be people that listen to him, and I encourage you to be one who listens to the voice of God, but I want you to be encouraged today. He's also listening to you. When no one else is listening, when no one else hears your cry, God hears it. When your cry is so deep on the inside that you can't even put it in words, God hears it. When you're in so much pain, you don't know what you're gonna do with it, you don't know how you're gonna make it through, God hears that, God feels that. We need to know that God's not cutting us off, God's not interruptin' us, except with his goodness. He's listening. The governor might not hear you, the mayor might not hear you, the president might not hear you, your neighbor might not hear you, but God hears you.
There's something that calms my heart when I know that God hears me. That brings me hope, it brings me confidence, it brings me positive energy. I know God hears me, so I don't need to complain and whine to everybody else, because I can complain and whine to him, and he's okay with it and he's not mad about it. And he's leaning in, he's leaning in to you, so you might as well lean back in to him, right? He's leaning in to listen; lean in to speak to him. Lean in to spend time talking to God, to spend time expressing yourself to him. No matter how ugly you might think what you have to say is, you should know that God already knows it. You're already thinkin' it, he already knows it, and he loves the honesty and the transparency and the intimacy that comes from giving you a platform in his life to share whatever you're feeling. And he hears you, and he listens.
It leads me to the next thing that gives me hope and gives me faith and gives me optimism today, no matter how dark it looks. It gives me light and optimism and faith and hope. Jesus is touched by your feelings, Jesus is touched by my feelings. You see, it gives me great faith and great optimism and it makes me encouraged to know that he hears me, but it also encourages me to know that he feels me. Jesus not only hears you, but he feels you. He's touched by your feelings, and he feels what you're going through. In fact, it says in Hebrews chapter 4, verse 15, that "We do not have a High Priest that cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things".
He said we don't have a High Priest that doesn't have empathy. We don't have a High Priest that doesn't understand. We don't have a High Priest that his ears are dull. We don't have a High Priest whose arms are too short to save, whose ears are too dull to hear. We don't have a High Priest that just is hardhearted towards you and towards the distress you're in or the depression you're in or the discouragement you're facing or the dilemma that you're in the middle of. We don't have a High Priest that ignores us. We don't have a High Priest that is mad at us. We don't have a high priest that doesn't have time for us, he doesn't have time for us or want to spend time with us. We have a High Priest who has feelings, and he feels what you feel. He hears you, and he feels you. Believe that today, and you'll find yourself in this place of hope and this place of happiness and faith.
Number three, the third reason to have optimism today: your failures and your mistakes cannot outlast God's patience and grace. Did you hear me? Your failures and your mistakes cannot outlast God's patience and his grace. His patience and his grace will outlast your failures and mistakes. His patience and his grace will outlast your failure. Some of you aren't listening to me, listen to me. His patience and grace will outlast, it will outlast your failures and your mistakes. Believe this with every fiber of your being. 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 8, says, "Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice. With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day". And then he says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some consider slowness, but he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but for everyone to come to repentance".
God's patience is going to outlast your mistakes. I love what he says in the Message Bible here. Honestly, this is my favorite version of this particular verse. He says, "Don't overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day". And then he says, "God isn't late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you. He is holding back the End because he doesn't want anyone lost. He's giving everyone space and time to change," wow.
Listen to what he says, he's restraining himself from coming back to this earth. Like, Jesus is coming a second time, but God's restraining himself, it says, on account of you, on account of me, on account of the lost souls that we're believing for, your family members that we're believing to be saved, your loved ones that we're believing for them to be saved, your coworkers, your neighbors, the lost, the hurting, the broken, we're believing for them to be saved; the ignorant, those that have not heard the good news, we're believing for them to be saved. You wonder, why hasn't God come back, why hasn't God fixed all this, why isn't God coming set it all straight like he said he would? It's because he is patient. It's because this verse said he's restraining himself on account of you.
I need some space and time to change, you need some space and time to change. There are a lot of people in this world; every person in this world needs space and time to change. It says, "He's restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn't want anyone lost. He's giving everyone space and time to change". I wonder if we just changed our perspective today and decided, you know what, I'm not gonna be in a hurry, I'm not gonna compare and worry, because God has given me space and time to change. God is patient with me. If you could get ahold of this today, God is patient with you, you'd be at more peace. It doesn't mean you have to stay the same, you have to stay down or stay defeated. It means you don't have to be in a hurry to fix it all. You don't have to be in a hurry, 'cause what if God finds me in this condition? He already knows you're in this condition.
That's why he's restraining himself from the end, because he wants everyone to be saved. He wants everyone to have a chance. He wants everyone to be given enough space and time to change. Ooh, God's patience has really changed my life. I never really understood it; I'm just starting to now. But I gotta tell you, the first description of love in the Bible, the great passage of scripture, 1 Corinthians chapter 13, is the the famous verse about love. The first description of love is, "Love is patient. Love is patient, love is patient and kind". And God is love, so God is patient and he's kind. Give yourself some space and time to change. Give your spouse, give your kids, give your parents, give your friends, give your neighbors, give the person that you're at work with or mad about, give them some space and time to change. Space for some grace, and for some time to change.
Boy, God, if you think anybody would be impatient; be like, okay, "I've given you a chance, I've given you chance after chance. You got one last opportunity. If you don't take it, I'm done with you". No, he's patient, and he's playing the long game for your sake. And thank God he is, because if the game was called in the first quarter or the first half or the first three quarters, I'd be finished, and so would you. But thank God that he's playing the whole game, and he's not in a hurry. And he may call a few time-outs too, and it seems like he's givin' you a little extra time. What a God, what a great God we get to call our Heavenly Father, woo. Please realize that God's patience and grace will outlast your mistakes and your failures.
Number four, this is one we'll have to talk more about after today as well, but all of them are really good, right? God is doing something bigger than what you see. So often, we only see what's right in front of us, but we don't see the bigger picture. We only see what we can see today. We don't see tomorrow, we don't see next year, we don't see the next five years, we don't see the last five years. We don't see how far God brought us. You know, it's funny how when somebody goes through a physical change, whether it's through age or through any cosmetic thing they do in their life, we sure notice it when we haven't seen 'em in a while. We sure notice in our own self, if we haven't seen ourself in a while, if we haven't looked.
Go back and look at the old pictures of you and look today. You wouldn't real, you'd realize, wow, I didn't see myself changing that much, but look at how much I did change. And I think that's how life is when you see the bigger picture. You think nothing's happening, but if you step back and see the bigger picture and look from a bigger time continuum or bigger time point of view, you'll see that life is happening for you, not to you, and God's doing something bigger than what you can see. He's working behind the scenes.
Philippians chapter 1, verse 12, says, Paul said, "But I want you to know, brethren, the things, which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel. The things that happened to me have actually turned out for me," 'cause Paul's life was lived to advance the gospel. And he said, "The things that have happened to me, even the bad things that have happened to me, have actually turned out for the furtherance of God's good news". Boy, if we could really realize this, that God is doing something bigger than what we see. How we look at something is far more important than what we're looking at right now. God is working behind the scenes. God has a way of turning bad things into good.
In Genesis 50 verse 20, you know it, when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, they thought he was gonna, they thought he was gonna kill them to have revenge on them. And what does the Bible say? Joseph said he saw things, he saw that God was working behind the scenes. He saw that God was doing something bigger than what he saw, bigger than what his brothers saw. His brothers were throwing him in a pit or his brothers were throwing him, selling him into slavery, but God was elevating him into his purpose. And Joseph understood that, and that's why he said, "You meant evil, I'm not gonna hurt you guys," he said, "I'm not gonna hurt you, because you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good".
You see, in life, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Every one of us are going to have pain, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. We choose if we're going to let our pain imprison us or if we're gonna let our pain power us through into our purpose. We free ourselves from suffering if we're willing to stop struggling to have a pain-free life, and start accepting the pain in our life, and use that pain to turn into power. Use that pain as a signal to pray, use that pain as a signal to heal, use that pain as a signal to have empathy for others; think about that. If we use that pain to go to God and turn to him for his purpose, if we use that pain as a signal to go to God, as a signal to heal ourselves, to take a moment and heal, or longer than a moment.
If we used pain as a signal to tell us that other people are hurting as much or worse than we are, we would really use pain, and our pain would become power. So, trust God to take whatever's happening in your life and make it better. That's what Romans 8:28 is all about. That's what we started saying earlier this year, that we're going to Romans 8:28 things. We gotta throw Romans 8:28 at everything in our life. "We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him and are called according to according to his purpose". Everything that seems to be falling apart in your life is actually falling in place. Everything that feels like it's falling apart is actually falling in place. The only thing that really matters is to trust God with the bigger picture. He's doing something bigger than what you see. Believe in his bigger purpose for your life. Believe bigger, think bigger, believe bigger. Invite God into your process, invite God into your situation right now.
Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verse 11, one of my favorite verses as well. In the New King James Bible, he says, "God makes everything beautiful in its time. He makes everything beautiful in its time". It's not all beautiful right away, it takes time. But look at how God does things. Look at when you let God get involved. Look at when you look at the bigger picture and realize God's doin' somethin' bigger than what you see. He takes us from law to Grace, he takes us from sin to righteousness, he takes us from sickness to healing, he takes us from defeat to victory, he takes us, see, God is all about things getting better and better in every area of your life, every area of your life. He goes from Old Testament to New Testament, old covenant to new covenant. He goes from the curse to the blessing, from sin to righteousness, from sorrow to joy, from night to day, from winter to summer.
Ecclesiastes chapter 7, verse 8 says, "Better is the end of the thing rather than the beginning". Might not start out good, but it's gonna end better. And Haggai chapter 2, verse 9 says, "The latter days of this house shall be greater than the former". I prophesy to you, your next days are gonna be greater days than you've ever had. The coming days are gonna be the greater days, and they're gonna keep getting better because that's just how good God is. And when you realize how good God is, when you understand his nature, his character, he is love, he is good, it's impossible for him to do you harm, it's impossible for him to be mad at you, it's impossible for him to take out his wrath on you when he already took it on Jesus. You'll begin to smile, you begin to wake up expecting things to get better, you'll begin wakin' up realizing that God's not measuring your life based on your mistakes and failures.
His patience is gonna outlast all of that. We have to stop defining ourselves and confining ourselves to our own weaknesses, to our own mistakes. We've gotta stop confining ourselves, stop defining ourselves by our mistakes, and confining ourselves to the negative effect of our mistakes, because God can use those, too, to make our lives better. Wow, God is doing something bigger than what you see right now. And the fifth thing that makes me optimistic in the darkest days of life is that breakthroughs, breakthroughs and the light of revival, breakthroughs and light and revival are always on the other side of darkness. Morning is always on the other side of the darkest of night. Spring is always on the other side of the coldest winter. Healing is always on the other side of the deepest pain. Breakthroughs are always on the other side of the hardest seasons of our lives.
You know, in Genesis chapter 1, verse 2, it says, "God saw there was darkness covering the face of the deep, right? The earth was without form, and void; and darkness covered the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And then God said, 'Let there be light.'" He actually said. "Light, be". In other words, the Spirit of God was hovering over the darkness, but when God said "Light, be," the Holy Spirit took the words that God spoke and brought light in the midst of darkness. And we're made in the image of God; we have the same power to call light out of darkness in your darkest day. I want you to be encouraged today, be optimistic today, because breakthroughs are always on the other side of darkness.
Revival's always on the other side of the decay of a culture and the decay of a society. Revival's always on the other side. We have a society that has truly decayed around the world in many ways. The church, in some ways, is holding the world together, but really, the church is failing sometimes, and God is holding it together with his Word. But there is a revival on the other side of death. There is a resurrection on the other side of a seed going into the ground. What seems like a sacrifice, to put the seed that you only have to eat, you put it in the ground, it grows over time. On the other side of famine is a harvest, when we plant seed. On the other side of confusion and trouble, there is peace on the other side if you'll just realize that God has given us the power to speak words over our lives that prophesy life out of darkness, light out of darkness and life where there's been death.
"Say to these dry bones," he told Ezekiel, "you say to these dry bones, 'Dry bones, live.'" We got to start talking to the things in our life that are dead or that are dark or that are telling us they're dead, and we got to talk back to those things, because on the other side of death, when your words speak life, on the other side of death is going to be a resurrection and the rattling of the bones coming together and putting an army in place for you, because you believed and you had hope and you had confidence that on the other side of what you're facing right now is a breakthrough. A breakthrough is always on the other side of darkness, and revival is always on the other side of whatever looks dead in your life.