Yet I Still Dare To Hope

“You have tested us, O God;
you have purified us like silver.
Then you put a leader over us.
We went through fire and flood,
but you brought us to a place of great abundance.”
Psalm 66:10,12

As I am in Niamey, Niger surrounded by the destructive damage done by the flooding of the Niger River I am observing a few things.

One, the depth of character that I see in the community of believers who have been turned upside down by this tragedy.

David writes, “You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver.”

When a silversmith purifies silver he holds the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames are the hottest as to burn away the impurities.

The silversmith has to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver is being purified because if the silver is left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

So how does the silversmith know when the silver is purified?

The answer is when the silversmith can see his image in it.

When you feel the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Two, I see the depth of faith that sustains their souls.

Sahel Academy, who lost its campus for the year because of the flood, one of the most influential and qualified schools in Niger, has already found new buildings to restart the school year in the upcoming weeks, knowing that the school’s real power is not buildings but committed teachers and potentially world changing students.

This is not easy, but…

They are believing what Psalm 66:12 says that as God takes them through the flood, He is going to take them to a place of great abundance, so that He can get the glory.

Floods come and go, but God’s faithfulness is always and forever.

Three, I see the depth of authentic community.

Difficult times are never fun but when you have a band of brothers and sisters rallying around each other, helping one another, encouraging one another, and even in the midst of this tragedy, laughing together, you cannot help but sit up and take notice.

Today, as I helped these heroic teachers and faculty members move into there new classrooms there was hugging, helping, laughing and a sense of anticipation from everyone about how God was going to use this whole thing to bless very poor country.

The great testimony of the Christian faith is not our perfect circumstances, but it is when outside observers say, “Oh, how they loved one another.”

Four, I see the heroic leaders standing tall, helping people find direction and hope when it is easy to get lost and discouraged.

God calls us as leaders to lead people through fires and floods to help people find hope and faith.

God is looking for leaders.

You tend to find new leaders during these times.

The ultimate example of this is when God brought a leader to us who endured horrific, unjust pain and suffering, which led us to a place of abundant life.

God took the worst thing and drew from it the best thing, which is a relationship with Jesus Christ, who wants to give us abundant life, today and forever.

Niger, Sahel Acadamy, Esprit Bible College and many other amazing organizations and people have been affected by these horrible floods…but, Jesus, the ultimate leader, is raising up leaders, young and old, to bring them through the floods and to a place of abundance.

It is not and will not be easy.

The scriptures guarantee it won’t be.

But as the prophet Jeremiah wrote looking over the ruins of Jerusalem,

“The thought of my suffering and homelessness
is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”