WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 23, 2022
TOPIC: WHEN YOU FEEL HELPLESS AND HOPELESS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up” (Acts 27:20 New King James Version).
Job 14:7-9 says, “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant” (New King James Version).
Obviously, the scripture is talking about a tree, not a human being. In comparison, Job says in verse 10 man dies and is laid away; indeed he breathes his last and where is he? He continues in verse 12 that man lies down and does not rise and till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep. Job is saying that trees have more hope than man because a tree that is cut down can sprout again but death is final for man. There was no clear understanding of resurrection then. However, in the New Testament, we know that death is not the end of man. There is resurrection after death.
Job definitely had struggles within him. He believed that God was responsible for his troubles, yet he continued to have faith in Him. Therefore, he said, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27 New King James Version). Bible scholars are not agreed on the meaning of this passage. Some believe Job was referring to the resurrection of his body at the general resurrection of the believers by Jesus Christ. However, others believe he was talking about the restoration of his health after his troubles were over.
Sometimes human beings, including Christians, go through some things in life that could make them feel helpless and hopeless, and say things that show this. Job says, “What strength do I have, that I should hope? And what is my end, that I should prolong my life? Is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh bronze? Is my help not within me? And is success driven from me?” (Job 6:11-13 New King James Version). The New Living Translation renders verse 13 thus: “No, I am utterly helpless, without any chance of success.” According to Job, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope” (Job 7:6 New King James Version). Hopelessness!
Hear Job again: “Where then is my hope? As for my hope, who can see it? Will they go down to the gates of Sheol? Shall we have rest together in the dust?” (Job 17:15-16 New King James Version). He also says in Job 19:10, “He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; my hope He has uprooted like a tree” (New King James Version).
Job’s words show a man who was helpless and hopeless. He said his hope had been uprooted. He felt God was against Him despite living an upright life. He felt God distant. He was deserted by his brothers, sisters, and acquaintances. The friends who came to console him worsened his condition by attributing his calamity to his sin. They were miserable comforters (Job 16:2). He didn’t receive any help from them. No words of comfort but of condemnation and, for long, God remained silent.
Only much more later did God speak to him and restored his losses. He blessed him twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10). God blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning (verse 12). But before then, Job felt helpless and hopeless. He cursed the day his mother gave birth to him and the man who brought the news of his birth to his father (Jeremiah 20:14-15).
In Genesis 21, Hagar, the Egyptian bondwoman of Sarah was helpless and hopeless after Abraham had sent her and the son she had for him away at the insistence of Sarah and by God’s approval. Abraham sent them away with bread and a skin of water. She departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba.
But the water was exhausted and she didn’t know what to do in the wilderness. She felt helpless and hopeless. “Then she went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot; for she said to herself, ‘Let me not see the death of the boy.’ So she sat opposite him, and lifted her voice and wept” (Genesis 21:16 New King James Version). She thought the boy would soon die.
Maybe you can relate to Hagar’s situation. You have left somewhere but you are nowhere in particular! You are wandering in the wilderness. You are as hopeless and helpless as Hagar. You don’t know what will become of your son, children, life, career, ministry, business, etc. You feel stranded. Don’t lose hope. Your child, children, career, ministry, or business won’t die. You will not die but live and declare the works of God (Psalm 118:17). Help came for Hagar and hope was restored. There is help for you and your hope shall be restored.
Genesis 21:17-18 says, “And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation” (New King James Version). God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well of water. Just imagine how excited and glad she would be. Her boy would not die again! She went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink.
Verses 20-21 say God was with the lad, and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. He dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt. The Lord will meet you at the point of your need this season. Whatever situation is making you feel helpless and hopeless, the Lord will change it.
Jochebed tried her best to preserve Moses’ life as a baby when Pharaoh commanded his people that every son born by the Hebrews should be cast into the river, and every daughter should be saved alive (Exodus 1:22). Jochebed saw that her child was beautiful and hid him for three months until she could no longer hide him.
She didn’t know what else to do other than to make him a basket (ark) of bulrushes for him and daubed it with asphalt and pitch. She put the child in it and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. The child’s sister stood afar off to know what would happen to him (Exodus 2:3-4). Jochebed was helpless and hopeless. She didn’t know what would befall the child.
But God intervened. The child was not cast into the river. The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river saw the baby boy crying and recognized him as one of the Hebrews’ children. Exodus 2:6b, in the New Living Translation, says, “His helpless cries touched her heart.” But her father had said that newly born Hebrew boys should be cast into the river.
The child’s sister who was watching from afar must have moved near at this time. She asked Pharaoh’s daughter if she could go and call a nurse for her from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for her. Who told her Pharaoh’s daughter wanted the baby? She must have believed God for a miracle to save the boy’s life. She must have seen the compassion and love of Pharaoh’s daughter for the boy. But why didn’t Pharaoh’s daughter suspect she was the boy’s sister or relation? God!
Eventually, the child’s mother was called and Pharaoh’s daughter told her to take the child away and nurse him for her, promising to pay her wages. The mother was paid for nursing her own baby! Joy was restored to a woman who had felt helpless and hopeless. God used Pharaoh’s daughter to save the life of one of the Hebrews that her father wanted dead! The story is recorded in Exodus 2:1-10.
During Paul’s voyage to Rome, the ship he was in with two hundred and seventy-five other persons on board was in danger because of the tempest. “Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up” (Acts 27:20 New King James Version). Did you see the phrase “all hope that we would be saved was finally given up”? In other words, they were helpless and hopeless. But because of Paul, God spared the lives of everyone. No life was eventually lost.
What must you do when you feel hopeless and helpless?
1. If your condition is because of your sin, repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. Zephaniah 1:17 says, “Because you have sinned against the LORD, I will make you as helpless as a blind man searching for a path. Your blood will be poured out into the dust, and your bodies will lie there rotting on the ground” (New Living Translation). In this verse, the cause of helplessness was sin. Repentance was the solution. Repent and God will forgive you (1 John 1:9).
2. Commit yourself to the Lord (trust in Him). If you’re feeling helpless and hopeless, you need God. Therefore, commit yourself to Him; trust in Him. “The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14b New King James Version). Romans 5:6 says, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners” (New Living Translation). Utterly helpless! The New King James Version says “without strength.”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever (Psalm 125:1).
Also, Psalm 33:18 says the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy. No matter how helpless and hopeless you feel, commit yourself to God. Hope even when there is no reason for hope. The Bible says of Abraham, “Who without reason for hope, in faith went on hoping, so that he became the father of a number of nations, as it had been said, So will your seed be” (Romans 4:18 Bible in Basic English).
Addressing the Sanhedrin, Peter described the lame man at the Beautiful Gate that was healed in Acts 3 as “a helpless man” (Acts 4:9). But Peter made it known to the Sanhedrin and all the people of Israel that he was healed by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (verse 10). Look unto God in your helplessness and hopelessness. He is a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1b).
3. Share what you’re going through with your small group in church, your pastor, or spiritually mature believers. Support from fellow believers is one of the benefits of church membership. You could also share your condition with your pastor or spiritually mature believers. Go for counselling. God did not design you to go through life alone.
Galatians 6:2-3 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (New King James Version). Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul said they should encourage or comfort each other and build each other up, just as they were already doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11). This scripture also applies to believers today. You can receive so much encouragement and prayer support if you share what you’re going through with your small group in church, your pastor, or spiritually mature believers.
4. Don’t neglect church meetings. God will minister to you by the Holy Spirit at such meetings. It can be through the Word of God or the song ministration. Hebrews 10:24-25 says we should consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as we see the Day approaching. Acts 2:42 says in the early church, the new believers continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
When you’re feeling helpless and hopeless, one of the devil’s strategies is to cut you off from fellowship and, thereby, make you sink into depression as you isolate yourself. He can deceive you by telling you that nobody understands or will understand what you’re going through and you need a break to sort out things. Under corporate anointing, some things happen in the church that do not happen elsewhere.
Don’t isolate yourself. Don’t withdraw from fellowship. Be involved in the church and your community. Be a blessing to other people even in your condition. Help the helpless; give hope to the hopeless. You are sowing a seed. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered (Proverbs 11:25).
5. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord always, not only when things are going well. Praising the Lord when you feel helpless and hopeless is something that people hardly find attractive. But it is very important you do it. You are not praising God for the situation but despite it. As you do, God will give you victory.
David said he would bless the LORD at all times; His praise would continually be in his mouth (Psalm 34:1). He also said in Psalm 35:10, “I will praise him from the bottom of my heart: ‘LORD, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the weak and helpless from the strong? Who else protects the poor and needy from those who want to rob them?’” (New Living Translation). God can rescue you when you feel helpless and hopeless.
When you praise the Lord two things will happen: God is magnified and joy is renewed in your heart. It is difficult to rejoice when you feel helpless and hopeless but, as you praise God, joy is released in your spirit, and you need it. The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy” (James 1:2 New Living Translation). 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says you should rejoice always. This will defeat helplessness and hopelessness.
6. Feed on the Word of God. Study the Word of God, listen to and watch anointed messages and listen to spirit-lifting songs. This will help your faith. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Colossians 3:16 says believers should let the word of Christ dwell in them richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in their hearts to the Lord.
7. Never stop praying. Jesus spoke a parable that men always ought to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). The apostle Paul says to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This does not mean that you will always feel like praying, especially when you’re feeling helpless and hopeless. But that’s even more reason to pray. Pray always and pray with fasting as God gives you grace.
If you find praying alone tedious or drudgery, not a delight, find a prayer partner and pray together. Iron sharpens iron; a friend sharpens a friend (Proverbs 27:17). Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Ephesians 6:18a talks about praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said His soul was sorrowful even unto death but He didn’t stop praying (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46). Zephaniah 3:19 says, “And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and renown to my former exiles, who have been mocked and shamed” (New Living Translation). Take note of this phrase: I will save the weak and helpless ones. That’s God speaking. He is the person you’re praying to. He will save you when you feel helpless and hopeless. He is your help and hope.
8. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and follow His instructions. Listen to what God is saying and obey. Romans 8:14 says as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. As you take the previous steps, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit for instructions and directions and obey. Whatever He tells you to do, do it (John 2:5).
He told Peter, who was in a helpless and hopeless situation, to launch out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch (Luke 5:4). Peter replied, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (verse 5 New King James Version). He did and had a net-breaking and boat-sinking catch of fish.
Conclusion: When or if you feel helpless and hopeless, don’t do what some people do: commit suicide. No, don’t do that. Some people abandon God. That’s not right or wise. You need Him the most at such a time. You may feel helpless and hopeless but no situation is out of God’s control. Don’t draw away from Him. Don’t give up on Him and don’t give up on yourself.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, You are a very present help in time of need; I need Your help; help me, Lord. I am helpless without You, come and help me, Lord. With You, no case is hopeless; visit me and change my situation. Turn things around in my favour. Father, deliver everyone who is feeling helpless and hopeless at the moment; send Your light and disperse the darkness that has enveloped them. Deliver everyone who is in depression and is suicidal. Give them a divine perspective and let them experience Your help. Fill them with hope again.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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