Where Are You Placing Your Hope?

Where Are You Placing Your Hope?

As you probably know a couple of months ago I announced that my wife, Sarah, had decided to leave me. She was not happy with our marriage and decided she didn’t want to work on it. (You can read the full details here – A Personal Update: Things Have Been Better!)

As you can imagine it’s not been the easiest thing I’ve ever had to go through.

The process was going on for many months before I publicly announced it and so I’ve personally had a lot of time to process and work through a lot of my stuff with those who are closest to me.

I’m so blessed to be able to say I’m honestly doing really great.

The situation is awful and I certainly wouldn’t have chosen it. But I myself have grown so much personally through it all and have in many ways never felt more healthy spiritually and emotionally.

It really is the grace of God that I can say I have peace in the place I find myself.

Not only that but I even have hope and joy for the future – whatever it may hold.

How have I gotten here?

There are so many things that have helped me get to this place, I’m sure in the coming months I’ll talk about some of the things the Lord has shown me and the journey I’ve been on. Today I wanted to talk about one in particular though.

One of the biggest things that has brought me to this place of peace has been for me to realize I was misplacing my hope.

As I journeyed through Sarah’s decision to leave the relationship, without realising I was doing so, I managed to put my hope in her.

Now Sarah is an awesome person who is great at making decisions and a very reliable person.

However, placing your hope firmly upon anyone or anything other than God is typically a bad idea.

Because we are all human, we have our good moments and our bad.

Not only that, but we all have free will and often times will come to different conclusion about things!

My hope for the future, for my happiness, for my peace, was in Sarah making a certain decision.

It was a decision I wanted and ultimately one she didn’t.

Finding peace

I was never going to find peace or joy having my hope placed in her changing her mind.

It was only when I realized this and recentered my hope firmly in Jesus that I found my peace again.

You can’t really have peace when it hinges on someone or something else. Because nothing is certain in life… Except Jesus.

I think we all do this to some degree in our lives, usually in small silly things, but perhaps occasionally in some bigger things too.

So much of our pain and anxiety comes from primarily putting our hope in people or things rather than Jesus.

So why am I saying all this?

I want to challenge you…

Is there somewhere in your life you are feeling stress, worry, pain or hurt?

Is it possible that your hope is placed in something other than Jesus?

Is it possible you’ve placed your hope in something or someone that isn’t as unwavering as Jesus?

Because ultimately He is the only constant we have in life… The only one we truly can place our hope in.

If you want to rediscover your joy and peace the first step is placing your hope firmly in the one who is unchangingly good and is for you in every way!

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  1. Thank you Phil for a word in season. Am in exactly the same situation as you and finding it hard to stop placing my hope in the decision I would love my spouse to make.

    Be good to hear your practical steps for learning how to place your hope in Jesus (right now I feel I really need Jesus with skin on!)

  2. Hi Phil,
    I wrote you earlier about this very situation. I so agree with you in that I put my trust in my husband. I also see I made marriage define me. I believed marriage as a sacred sacrament and a ministry. Two become one, it took half of me and rendered a part of who I was. After accepting God’s provision and protection I thankfully and reluctantly accepted the truth of the failure of my marriage. I presently am in a bondage to the desire to be married. staking my hope in that I want a partner to draw strength, leadership, safety and personal emotional love.
    I see that all this is an idol for me and that Jesus is all these things. I have the intellectual knowledge this is true and try to break this idol in my heart and mind and I have failed miserably. I have my whole life dreamed of marriage as a fulfillment as a women and person. To be a partnership to bless each other and honor God in marriage. I see that God desires this too. I also know he has called me out of a bad marriage and being single is nothing I love. I need a break through, I believe in my savior Jesus and don’t put him on the throne in my heart where marriage is. I ask and do not receive, is it because I am too stuck? That my sin is holding onto the idol of marriage and I don’t want to give it to Jesus? I try and try everything and all I feel left with is a life choice I don’t like and I don’t feel the joy or freedom I should. I know that Abba loves me, am I saying that isn’t enough and am I keeping myself here in this place of not being fulfilled and hurt? I want to get the lesson and go on from here, its been too many years of being stuck.
    I am praying for you and am so happy to see you walking through this with God and showing me God’s truth in trusting your future to Him! I know the answer is in front of me and I am either blind or unwilling.
    all my agape love in Christ Jesus,

  3. Phil..good word as always.A thought came to me after.What if those we have close to us realize that we are placing so much hope on their contribution into our lives.The hopes that belong solely to Jesus.Can you imagine the burdens they would see themselves carrying?Worse still,the struggles they are facing in doing so now?It’s just maybe we create our own idols.

  4. Hi Phil,
    I’m glad that you explained that you processed a lot of this already. At first I was feeling like how can he be so “non emotional” about this. It kind of gave a robotic feel. But reading this article does show the ultimate truth that the only one we can 100% rely upon to care for us the way we need is the good Lord. It is rough to be in a place where you have hope in a person who is wanting to go in the opposite direction from you. Love the article and very glad you are doing so well! Thanks.

  5. A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had just watched my mom die from liver cancer at the same time. Needless to say I was scared to death thinking I would die too, I kept going back and forth on what surgery and treatment to have. I put all my hope and trust in the doctors at the beginning, but then realized they are only human, they can only do so much. I finally put my hope and trust in God where it belonged, the peace that gave me is wonderful. I know now no matter what, I will be okay. He is my rock. I understand what Beverly is saying, you just want a hug from Him in person. If I could I’d give you a hug Beverly, after all we are His hands and feet.

  6. Hie Phil. I have really learnt today that Jesus is the only one to place our hopes on if we dont want to be disappointed. Everyone knows that people will fail you but i dont know if must realise that you will occasionally fail yourself too. So if you place your hopes on you alone, chances are you will be disappointed. But thank God he fights our battles when we place our hopes on Jesus!

  7. Hie Phil,
    This is an amazing topic; I remember when the Lord taught me about the 1st of the Ten Commandments ( I am not under law by the way)- and I realised that the 1st commandment is different from making a graven image like the 2nd commandment…It is about having someone/something which you put you trust/hope/faith in other than Jesus. It is soooo easy to have someone/something we put our hope in, especially money and the spouse or a special someone like a friend, and lose sight of Jesus our Lord. God really wants us to make Him the sole object of our dependence. This is a great article Phil.
    NB// Technology is amazing Phil, you are sharing the message of grace with me down here in Zimbabwe- keep up the work bro!

  8. Hi Phil, and thank you as others have stated here for a timely message. I’m a recovering divorcee as well. It hurt so much. It was not my decision. I believe even as I read these testimonies, and write my own, that God is teaching me this very lesson. I am finding out that the way to have a healthy outlook on relationships, or whatever the subject matter is in life, is to simply begin to understand God’s great love for you personally. Is that insight? I think it is. The more a person just lets Jesus share His great love for you in your heart, and allow Him to just love on you, the more you will learn that you can let go of everything else. I am certainly not saying that God expects you to be alone all your life. He wants you happy and blessed. But the way to have all of this in perspective, and have a great relationship when it is time again, is to first let Daddy just minister to you first. He is the great healer. He will heal you. And when you understand His love in your heart, it puts everything else in the right place so you can have that great relaationship with someone. He wants you to have the love of your life. In and of Him. God has no problem at all with you being with someone special. Just ask Him to put it all in the right perspective so your heart trust and reliance are resting in His love first. You, and everyone else around you will be blessed that way. Amen…

  9. I just recently found your website and I have been constantly reading, taking notes on and thoroughly enjoying your insights and words of wisdom that have so obviously been gained from discernment and your own personal trials. It is sad that so many of us in the world have failed marriages and relationships, but I am convinced the enemy truly seeks to destroy those bonds of marriage and family as much if not more than anything else, being modeled after God’s covenant relationship with His people. My husband always worked on the road to make that big money and separation can be a destroyer, but when he walked off his job one day and took off with another woman, I was shocked and devastated. After some involuntary fasting and lying prostrate and hysterical in the living room floor for a few days, begging God to fix him and bring him home, I heard it. Not a big booming voice but a realization deep in my heart when God asked me, “Why do you put him before Me? You have made him your idol.” I absolutely had, even though it was so hard to hear, I knew it was the truth. My happiness depended on him, my mood for the day was determined by how he felt that day. I depended on him for financial stability, emotional stability and I dare say spiritually also, letting myself be led by his decisions based on worldly views and not God’s. I let myself be defined by my husband and was lukewarm as they say, praying fervently when things were bad and coasting when they were good. So I got up out of the floor and spent time with my Father. In the midst of the heartache and loss I had been feeling, I became strangely at peace. I sat in the grass and talked to God and just meditated on His goodness, praising and thanking Him for those words He spoke to me. I sang hymns and went about my business and refused to badmouth my husband to anyone who asked. I gritted my teeth and forgave him and the woman. He eventually came home. I understand not everyone would make the choice to stay and not everyone is able to reconcile. I heard it quite often I assure you. I learned the hard way that my hope was being misplaced. God really does use all things for the good of those who love Him. It still amazes me today after 10 years, that I look back and can say that I felt true joy and appreciation at the conviction God had given me. I was humbled, but I was uplifted at the very same time, realizing for the first time in years I didn’t have to keep fighting the useless battles of a war that had already been won by Christ and that I had the truth to place my hope in. I am in no way perfect and my life has not been either. I get distracted, selfish and even lazy, but I keep my hope in the Lord because He is the one who created me and loves me. He is true to His promises and never leaves me even when I may have strayed out a little too far and need to be reeled back in. If there is one thing I know, God is the one and only constant in this life to be trusted and worthy of all our hopes and praise.

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