Looking upon them, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, … for with God all things are possible.” — Mark 10:27
How often have you heard someone, in a state of total exasperation, blurt out, “It’s hopeless!” Closer to home, how often have you declared, “It’s hopeless!” when some minor or major circumstance loomed before you? Since we can all plead guilty, more or less, the question arises: is this a valid reaction from a Bible-believing Christian?
It is a revelation to note that in the common Hebrew, there is no word that can be translated “hopeless.” That may seem unusual or even weird until you take the time to seriously study the ancient and current history of the Hebrew people.
From its infancy the nation of Israel could look in any direction and see an enemy. Each of those enemies shared a common goal: eliminate the Jew. Israel was always outnumbered and out-gunned – and in the natural, it seemed they would never make it – but they did.
During their time of living in Egypt, after many years of prosperity and peace under Joseph, they suddenly found themselves enslaved under the boot of the most powerful monarch in the world at the time. It seemed hopeless: over 400 years in slavery, and in the natural there was no way they could ever see freedom again; but they did.
On the banks of the Red Sea, loaded down with Egyptian wealth, the Israelites were trapped (hopeless) before Pharaoh’s army bearing down with only one goal in mind — annihilation. In the natural they could never escape; but they did.
Down through the centuries, despot after despot — all of the “ites” of the Old Testament, through the “Hitler-ites” of the twentieth century, and beyond — all rose up with their identical solution to the world’s woes: Eliminate the Jew. How could Israel survive this relentless onslaught, this “hopelessness”? In the natural they could never endure it all; but they did.
Would you like to see living, breathing proof that God exists? Find a modern day Jew, and take a good look! No other people, nation, or ethnic group can even approach the perseverance and longevity of the Jew. You see, Jehovah God doesn’t have “hopeless” in His vocabulary either, and He covenanted that Israel would always be His Chosen People, and that the sun and moon would fail before the “Chosen” disappeared. So is it any wonder their beloved language does not recognize “hopeless”?
This narrative was inspired by a brief but moving address by an elderly Jewish Rabbi. He had just followed to the podium a speaker who had lamented the state of “hopelessness” that pervades our society. As he stood before his audience, he rolled up his right sleeve and displayed a number tattooed on his forearm.
“This,” he spoke very gently, “was put there by the Nazis when, as a little boy, I was thrown into a concentration camp. Many of us were there, and most did not survive. But instead of thinking that I would die tomorrow, I remembered the teaching of my forefathers that still lingers within me and my people today. It is a centuries-old axiom that, translated into English says, ‘Where there is breath, there is hope!’”
Throughout all history, in the natural, the Jews had little reason to hope; but they did.
So, what about the born-again believer? The Scriptures tell us that Jehovah God – the God of Israel – sent His Son Jesus Christ to seal a better covenant. When we become a party to that covenant by repenting and receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are grafted in and become the sons and daughters of Abraham and heirs to the promises — all of them! Hallelujah!
Let us join our Jewish brethren in eliminating from our vocabulary the faith-killing word “hopeless.” Let us join in declaring, “Where there is breath, there is hope.” And in total trust let us shout from the housetops the truth of our text, “…with God nothing is impossible!”
Then the world will look at us, puzzled, and mutter to one another, “Man, I didn’t think they would ever get out of that, but you know what? They did!