I’ve noticed an interesting pattern when I ask people if they’re looking forward to the new year. Most have high hopes if their circumstances are looking good – no major health problems, money in the bank, and harmonious family relationships.
But things are often quite different for those who are dealing with a crisis in some area of their life. At such times, many people feel like they’re at the end of their rope, tempted to give up hope and yield to despair.
So how can we maintain our hope, even when the news headlines are bleak or we’re encountering difficult trials in our personal life?
When the apostle Paul wrote letters to his churches, many believers were undergoing stressful times and fierce persecution. Yet, even during such challenging seasons, he said believers can “abound in hope”: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
This is the kind of hope I want you to experience today, my friend – a hope that’s indestructible, based not on your current circumstances but on “the God of hope.”
When the Brook Dries Up
Sometimes we forget that men and women in the Bible often went through trials very similar to those we face today. For example, even though God provided Elijah with food brought by ravens and water from a brook, “It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land” (1 Kings 17:7).
Have you ever felt like your “brook” dried up and God’s help and provision were nowhere to be found? Perhaps you’re feeling that way today, struggling to make ends meet and wondering whether God will be faithful to meet your needs.
At times like these, it’s impor-tant to remember that whenever you ask the Lord for a miracle, He’s likely to give you an instruction. In Elijah’s case, God told him to go to Zarephath:
“Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you“(1 Kings 17:9).
Without debate or delay, Elijah “arose and went to Zarephath”(v. 10). He chose to obey, knowing that obedience was his only hope of unlocking God’s supernatural provision in his life.
It Only Takes a ‘Handful’
Just as Elijah had to choose whether or not to obey God’s instructions, so the widow he found in Zarephath faced a hard decision when the prophet told her, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand” (v. 11).
This may not seem like a very difficult request, but you have to understand the woman’s situation:
“I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die” (v. 12).
What a dilemma. This widow had almost nothing left…only a “handful” of flour and a little bit of oil. But you see, this “HANDFUL” was the key to her miracle!
Faced with a seemingly hopeless situation, the widow could’ve surrendered to fear and unbelief…but instead, she CHOSE HOPE and obeyed God’s instruction!
As long as the woman held on to her meager supply of food, that’s all she had. But when she obeyed God’s instructions and released what was in her hand, God intervened in her circumstances and released the supernatural abundance that was in HIS hand!
Although the Lord’s instructions to this poor widow must have seemed totally unreasonable, His purpose was not her demise but her BLESSING! Elijah assured her that if she would obey, “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth” (v. 14).
She chose to obey the prophet of the Lord, and the result was MIRACULOUS provision:
“She and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah” (vs. 15-16).
What an amazing miracle! In a time of drought and famine, this desperate woman went from having “not enough” to having “more than enough.” From the brink of starvation and death, she experienced life and abundance – all because she chose to obey the man of God and believe the Lord’s word to her.
What’s in Your Hand?
Remember: The key to a turnaround in your life is unlikely to be found in some far-off place – it’s right there in your hand! But here’s the problem: What you have in your hand must be transferred into God’s hand!
How much food does it take to feed more than 5,000 hungry people? Only five loaves of bread and two fish, IF they are transferred into Jesus’ hands and blessed by Him (Matthew 14:14-21)! But how many people could have been fed without Jesus’ blessing on these loaves and fish? Maybe five or ten!
In Exodus 4:2, God asked Moses the same question He’s asking you today: “What is that in your hand?”
All Moses had in his hand at that point was a simple wooden shepherd’s rod. But after he laid it down and surrendered it into the Lord’s hand, it was transformed into “the rod of God” (Exodus 4:20) – able to part the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21), bring water out of a rock (Exodus 17:5-6), and gain supernatural victory over enemy armies (Exodus 17:8-13).
Friend, I believe your breakthrough from God is at hand this year – and it’s literally in your hand! Whether you need the Lord’s intervention in your finances, marriage, job, health, or children – the key is surrendering all of your resources into the hands of your Heavenly Father.
God promises that if you listen to His voice and follow His instructions, you will “prosper in all that you do” (Deuteronomy 29:9). And as you are blessed, you can also experience the joy of BEING a blessing to others – sending the hope and salvation of Jesus Christ to lost and needy people throughout the world.
So get your hopes up, my friend! If you do, 2019 can be a fabulous year for you.
Your friend and partner,
David Cerullo is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Inspiration Ministries, located in Indian Land, South Carolina a ministry dedicated to impacting people for Christ worldwide through media since 1990. David took a less traditional approach to ministry, graduating from Oral Roberts University with a degree in business administration and management. He has authored more than 15 different books and has been honored with an honorary Doctor of Ministry degree. He has been married to his wife Barbara for more than 40 years, and together they have two adult children and five grandchildren.