Shortsighted

Chapter Summary

How does God inspire me to find hope for the future?

We long for hope in our lives, especially when all we see is darkness. Chapter two shows us that as we fix our eyes on God, He can help us believe that there are brighter days ahead and that He has good plans in store for our future.

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About This Study

Your experiences may have left you with a sense of despair and hopelessness — dreams lost, relationships damaged, your self-esteem beaten down. You may feel that both God and hope have vanished. Spend some time with this study and discover the comfort and peace God offers through the Scriptures.

Readings

As Jesus traveled and taught many people heard his teaching and, just like many churchgoers today after hearing a good sermon, simply went home without understanding or turning their lives around. Others, however, who heard Jesus teach and wanted to learn more. They hung around and listened as Jesus pulled the disciples aside for some intense leadership training and further explanation.

Jesus had much to teach his twelve apostles to prepare them to carry on his mission after he was gone. They needed to know some secrets about the kingdom of God. They could not understand these secrets on their own. They needed the special revelation that only he could give. Aren’t you encouraged to read that Jesus did not shoo away those who were not among the Twelve? He was willing to share the secrets with anyone who wanted to listen and learn.

The situation is no different for us today. The only way we ever truly understand the Word of God is through the Holy Spirit who helps us. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:3).

That is the reason you are encouraged to begin each daily Waypoint with the short prayer from Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”

Jesus encountered those who admired his words, yet were content to watch from the periphery; and others who wanted to know more and pressed in closer to hear him elaborate on his teaching. The first group certainly included those challenged by Jesus’ words. The second is where you would be more likely to find those who were changed by Jesus’ truths. In which group would you be found?

Next

God knows me better than I know myself. I can trust that God knows my future.

LORD, you have examined me
and you know me.
You know everything I do;
from far away you understand
all my thoughts.
You see me, whether I am working
or resting;
you know all my actions.
Even before I speak,
you already know what
I will say.
You are all around me on every side;
you protect me with your power.
Your knowledge of me is too deep;
it is beyond my understanding.

Where could I go to escape
from you?
Where could I get away
from your presence?
If I went up to heaven, you would
be there;
if I lay down in the world of the
dead, you would be there.
If I flew away beyond the east
or lived in the farthest place in
the west,
you would be there to lead me,
you would be there to help me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
or the light around me to turn
into night,
but even darkness is not dark
for you, and the night is as
bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same
to you.

You created every part of me;
you put me together in my
mother’s womb.
I praise you because you are to be
feared;
all you do is strange and
wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.
When my bones were being formed,
carefully put together in my
mother’s womb,
when I was growing there in
secret,
you knew that I was there –
you saw me before I was born.
The days allotted to me
had all been recorded in your book,
before any of them ever began.
O God, how difficult I find your
thoughts;
how many of them there are!
If I counted them, they would be
more than the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still
with you.
Psalm 139.1-18

 

Sometimes, like this psalmist, we find ourselves ready to give up. That’s when we need to pray and believe in the goodness of God for our healing.

 

So I am ready to give up;
I am in deep despair.

I remember the days gone by;
I think about all that you have done,
I bring to mind all your deeds.
I lift up my hands to you in prayer;
like dry ground my soul is
thirsty for you.
Answer me now, LORD!
I have lost all hope.
Don’t hide yourself from me,
or I will be among those who go
down to the world of the dead.
Remind me each morning of your
constant love,
for I put my trust in you.
My prayers go up to you;
show me the way I should go.

I go to you for protection, LORD;
rescue me from my enemies.
You are my God;
teach me to do your will.
Be good to me, and guide me on
a safe path.

Rescue me, LORD, as you have
promised;
in your goodness save me from
my troubles!
Psalm 143.4-11

 

God knows the plans for our lives and we need to trust that these are good plans.

I alone know the plans I have for you, plans
to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans
to bring about the future you hope for. Then you
will call to me. You will come and pray to me,
and I will answer you. You will seek me, and you
will find me because you will seek me with all
your heart.
Jeremiah 29.11-13

Even though we lament, we can be certain that God will hear us and give us hope.

The Lord is merciful and will not
reject us forever.
He may bring us sorrow, but
his love for us is sure
and strong.
He takes no pleasure in
causing us grief or pain.
Lamentations 3.31-33

Next

And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables,so that

“they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

-Mark 4:10-13

Next
  1. Do you believe that you need an answer from God for your own suffering and despair?
  2. Write or share why you feel this way. And when you have no answers to your despair, how do you react?
  3. What is most comforting for you when you despair without answers?
  4. Describe these things. Like the psalmist, write a lament to God in which you cry out your frustrations.
Next

Father, don’t let me be content to stand on the periphery of truth. I don’t want to just be challenged by your Word, I want to be changed. Give me a determination to press in and learn all you have to teach me. For your glory. Amen.

Thoughts for Reflection

<ol class="ol1"> <li class="li1"><span class="s2">Do you believe that you need an answer from God for your own suffering and despair?</span></li> <li class="li1"><span class="s2">Write or share why you feel this way. And when you have no answers to your despair, how do you react?</span></li> <li class="li1"><span class="s2">What is most comforting for you when you despair without answers?</span></li> <li class="li2"><span class="s4">Describe these things. Like the psalmist, write a lament to God in which you cry out your frustrations.</span></li> </ol>

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