This morning, while doing my three-mile walk, the Lord reminded me of an article I recently wrote. It was called, “Don’t Lose Faith in the End of the Story.” Let me share some of it with you…
“I never lost faith in the end of the story,” were the inspiring words of Admiral Jim Stockdale.
For those unfamiliar with this American hero, in 1965 he became the highest-ranking naval officer to be held as a POW in Vietnam. He was held as a captive for seven years in brutal conditions. He was physically tortured no fewer than 15 times. They beat him, whipped him, and nearly-asphyxiated him with ropes. “Mental torture was incessant. He was kept in solitary confinement, in total darkness, for four years, chained in heavy, abrasive leg irons for two years, malnourished due to a starvation diet, denied medical care, and deprived of letters from home in violation of the Geneva Convention.”
Yet, despite the conditions and hardships, Stockdale said, “I never lost faith in the end of the story.”
During those seven years in the infamous prison camp, “Hanoi Hilton,” the more his captors tortured him, the more Stockdale resisted.
His courage became an inspiration to his fellow POWs as he created an ingenious code to communicate with them. He worked to maintain unit cohesion and morale even as he was being tortured.
As his jailers increased the level of torture, rather than submit, Stockdale determined to fight back.
His courage is as inspiring today as it was then. We too must refuse to lose hope in the end of the story, regardless of what we are going through.
How? The Word of God teaches us that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Like Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope. “
There is no end to hope in God.
Yet, many times some do lose hope. We walk through disappointment after disappointment, and unfortunately some even give up.
Admiral Jim Stockdale addressed the danger of giving up in an interview. When asked about those who ultimately died in the prison camp, he called them, “The optimists.” They were the ones who said, “’We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart,” Stockdale explained.
I have watched this same thing play out over and again.
God doesn’t tell us when a season of challenge will end. He does, however, tell us no weapon formed against us will prosper. He does tell us He will bring us out into a wealthy place. He does tell us to continue to hope and declare His word. He also tells us He has a good expected end for us. How can we know for certain? Jesus paid the price in full at the cross.
Disappointment makes the heart sick. The Word of God tells us so in Proverbs 13:12. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. I believe today many, just as in Admiral Stockdale’s day, have a broken heart.
Sure, we have faced disappointment. Life doesn’t always go the way I want it to either, but I have not lost faith in the end of the story and neither should you.
God is good and I know He has a good plan for His people.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The Bible tells us that God’s ways are higher than our ways. He sees what is happening and He is not shaken, nor has He moved off His plan. If we are to have this same perspective, our thoughts will have to come up to His way of seeing things. Through the eyes of faith. With faith and hope in the end of the story. We must trust His plan, even if we don’t understand it.
Admiral Stockdale stated one final thing I found inspiring. He said, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
We cannot afford to put our heads in the sand and refuse to see where we are right now as a nation. If we do, we will stop praying. That is the devil’s greatest hope. We cannot do that. We must see clearly where it appears we are at this moment and then continue to pray accordingly, knowing God has a good outcome for us.
Nor can we ignore what is going on in our families when breakthrough is needed – we must stand firm, declare His word and keep our faith in the good end of the story.
We cannot lose faith in the end of the story. We may not fully understand God’s ways, but we can certainly continue to trust His plan. He is faithful. His Word has been sent forth concerning our nation and it will not return void. Keep the faith. Hold fast to your confidence in the end of the story. Our end is in HIS hands, and He will not fail us.
Meditate on This!
For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Deuteronomy 24