When You Need Hope For Change: A Ray of Hope Pierces the Darkness

A mother and grandmother, Susan Gregory lives in a small college town in Central Washington, and is passionate about helping followers of Jesus Christ from all cultures to integrate their faith into every part of their lives. It’s a humble grace to welcome Susan to the farm’s front porch…

guest post by Susan Gregory

The message arrived at the darkest time in my life when hopelessness was knocking hard at the door of my heart.

I was suffering the unbearable pain of divorce, feeling abandoned by the one who had promised to stay with me “until death do us part.”

Plus, my real estate investing business was reeling from the tremors of the sub-prime mortgage debacle that would soon pitch the nation into the Great Recession.

My business reserves were already depleted, and soon my personal savings would disappear. In short order there would be nothing left in the bank.

I cried more tears than seemed possible for someone with my small frame, feeling as if everything and everyone had failed me.

I even felt I had failed myself.

But I kept holding onto God’s hand, and that gave me hope.

In the midst of the darkness, it seemed like laser direction: “Write about the Daniel Fast.”

A spark. A beam of light. Awe! I knew from personal experience about the power of fasting. I knew what it was like to be so hungry for more of God that the only way to be fed was to fast.

Though I had gone on several fasts throughout the years, I had begun practicing the 21-day Daniel Fast (based on Daniel 1:1210:2-3) two years earlier.

What if I could share what I had learned about the Daniel Fast with others, helping them draw closer to God through this partial fast?

I was able to do that by starting writing about the Daniel Fast. It was wonderful to touch people in need of hope and be touched by them.

One woman spoke of being estranged from her adult son for 17 years. Her hope that she would ever see him again was fading, but she made a commitment to pray for him every day during her fast. Fifteen days into her 21-day fast, the phone rang. That’s when she heard the voice she had longed to hear for all those years. “Mom, it’s me.”

People began to draw nearer to God as they focused their attention on Him and on His Word as they prayed and fasted. Other people wrote about financial provision or new jobs. Some couples found their marriages restored.

Then I began receiving reports that I never expected. These seemed like wonderful side-effects of the fast. “My husband went to the doctor before the Daniel Fast and his cholesterol was dangerously high. Even the doctor was surprised that it was down to 150 in just 21 days!”

And then more and more messages like this one started arriving, “I have been overweight almost all my life. I have been on more diets than I can count. I finally lost hope that I could ever lose the weight.  But during the Daniel Fast I lost 20 pounds and I didn’t even feel like I was dieting.”

God was restoring people’s hope.

I knew what that was like. I had stood next to hopelessness long enough, not knowing what tomorrow would bring.

So many people feel judged and ashamed, defeated and depressed.

They struggle with being overweight or addicted or anxious about how life will unfold. I am convinced that taking time out of our busy lives to seek God through a time of biblically-based fasting will begin to restore the wholeness God wants us to have.

Clinging to God through prayer and fasting helps keep hope alive.

Christ-centered hope isn’t like something we “wish would happen.”

Instead, because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, our hope is an assurance of what is to come.

His promises are sure. We can count on them.

Courage is what is elemental to living — composed of two parts fierce hope, and one part wild believing.

It’s hope that can create a quake that cracks all despair.

It’s hope that stands in your dark with a lamp lit with prayers.

And it isn’t the likelihood of your hope that sustains you, but the object of your hope that sustains you.

We lay our hope, full and tender, into the depths of Him.”  

~ Ann Voskamp

If you sense hopelessness knocking at the door of your soul, be encouraged.

Turn to your Father.

He is bigger and more powerful than anything that could ever come against you.

Place your hope in Him and He will surely see you through.

 

Susan Gregory (“The Daniel Fast Blogger”) regularly corresponds with thousands of men and women who are seeking God through the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting. She is the author of the bestselling book, The Daniel Fast: Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit and Renew Your Body and her most recent book, The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss. 

The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss: A Biblical Approach to Losing Weigh and Keeping it Off  offers a strategic, biblically based plan backed by solid research that will eliminate your cravings and help you to drop those unwanted pounds once and for all. 

[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale for their partnership in today’s devotion ]

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