Groundhog Day always brings to mind the movie by the same name. In the film, Bill Murray’s character, Phil, travels to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to report on the same boring groundhog.
Phil views the annual observance as a sign that there is really no “tomorrow.” So the film depicts him living out this deception.
He wakes up every morning and experiences the same Groundhog Day over and over again.
- At first, he gets reckless, figuring there are no consequences.
- Eventually, he tries to escape the futility—even going so far to as to commit suicide (with the groundhog!)—but he still wakes up to the same Sonny and Cher song every day at 6 AM.
Film critic Richard Corliss notes: “He is trapped in time . . . Yet he can’t die, he can’t escape, he can only change.”
What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same and nothing that you did mattered?
When Phil asks that question to his buddies, one of them confesses: “That sums it up for me.”
Does that sum it up for you?
You’re ready for a change. You’ve asked God to open a new door in your life, and He has taken years to prepare you for it. Finally, you’re ready.
There’s just one problem. Nothing happens.
The plan of God includes preparation and waiting. But why do you have to keep waiting once God has prepared you? What else must you do for God to open the door?
The Apostle Peter experienced something that may explain why your progress is delayed.
And what you can do in the mean time.
There’s not much we can be sure of today. We live in a world of broken promises, broken families, backstabbing friends, and personal failures. And that’s just at church.
After a lifetime of disillusions, we’ve come to expect little else. We often hope for nothing in hopes we won’t be disappointed.
It’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of hopelessness. It happens because we live in an a culture that keeps God at arm’s length, one that claims His name but declines His Lordship.
God is a package deal. And when we refuse all of God then we miss all of what He has to offer. In refusing all of God we’re forced to fill those gaps with substitutes that disappoint and fail us.
But with God . . . ah, now that’s a worldview of a different color.
The Sovereign Lord, the Creator of the universe, offers true hope—and here’s why: He is the only one able to make good on His promises.
Here are 4 promises of God—cleverly disguised by the Apostle Paul as questions—that give you hope for your life.
I had to smile when I read what Jason Kidd said after the Dallas Mavericks drafted him years ago: “We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees!”
Life often feels like that, doesn’t it? A lot of effort with nothing gained.
At times, the Bible seems like a history book in which God makes and fulfills promises to the ancients, but the words somehow lack immediacy to our struggling lives. And yet, it’s funny how the anxieties that overwhelm our lives seem identical to those that biblical people struggled against.
Even though Scripture provides assurance of God’s promises, assurance doesn’t negate the stressful circumstances that force us to trust God.
Truth doesn’t make the hard parts of life go away. We still have to trust God with that truth.
As a teenager, I knew everything. You could even say I was omniscient. I marveled at the incompetence of adults on the simplest issues. They just didn’t get it.
And then I grew up, and something strange happened. I discovered that as an omniscient person, I still had a lot to learn.
So many times I stood so sure of myself only to discover how woefully ignorant I was.
- I knew a lot about the Bible until I went to seminary. It turns out, the more I learned, the less I knew.
- I knew everything about marriage until I got married. But matrimony is course in art, not science. I’ll be learning for the rest of my life.
- I was an expert on parenting until I had kids. Parenting offers a long course of study on your own selfishness.
I’ve learned a lot since I became omniscient. But you know where that omniscient teenager resurfaces the most in my life? The same place it shows itself in your life.
When we’re talking to God.
I sat in the audience as Joni Eareckson Tada gave this talk to the 2013 National Religious Broadcasters.
Her words completely changed my perspective and mood that night. I walked in grumbling the hard week I experienced . . . and I left filled with gratitude for God.
Watch her video and you’ll understand why. Incredible.
God permits what He hates to accomplish that which He loves.
Just this week I finished reading Joni’s book, A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty.
Believe me, if you’d like some encouragement in the midst of your pain, this book will show you how to view your struggles with the joy only God provides.
We start strong. Determination and strength come easily. Faithfulness flows from our hearts.
Then life happens. We didn’t plan to grow cold spiritually. But we did.
Somehow, we can wake up after a number of years and discover that our lack of passion for God has gradually shifted Him away from our hearts. We then find ourselves living in the ruins of once-vibrant spiritual lives.
How does this happen? By forgetting this one thing.
Most of us can remember the turning of the millennium. It was an exciting time to be alive—to see if all computers would crash. (It was also a great time for practical jokes).
But for the great yew tree at Crowhurst, England, the year 2000 was no big deal. Tree experts say this tree has seen the millennium change four times. Ho hum.
That means when Jesus walked the earth two thousand years ago, the Crowhurst yew had already stood for two thousand years—dating to the time of Abraham!
From its lush exterior you’d never guess the tree had a center lifeless and hollow.
A lot of people live life like this old tree.
- From all appearances, they look full of life and vigor, but on the inside they have an empty hollow.
- The longer they live, the bigger the hole gets on the inside.
Life can weather your faith. But God’s love shows us how He can fill that empty hollow with life far more vibrant than the outside facade.
But only He can do it.
Sometimes waiting on God feels like you’re dying of thirst.
That’s what David thought as he wandered in a thirsty wilderness, running from a problem he couldn’t solve.
Chased by the jealous King Saul, David took refuge in the Wilderness of Judea and prayed, “My flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).
This barren land is a picture of our own challenge with waiting on God.
It also pictures the place of refuge God provides for us while we wait.
Not long ago, my body gave me a little gift.
I awoke suddenly one night with a smarting pain in the body. No matter how I fidgeted and adjusted, the hurt in my lower back only intensified.
The best way I can describe the discomfort compares to having a doctor insert a three-inch hypodermic needle just to the left of the spine, exactly where the kidney sits. Occasionally, just for fun, the doc then twists the needle in a slow, clockwise motion.
The pain literally nauseated me.
Never before had I experienced such an inescapable ache.
The most frightful part was I had no idea what was happening.