Do You Need A Breakthrough?
Do you need a breakthrough in your life? Are you facing a stubborn situation that simply won’t yield, no matter how much you push or pray? (Maybe there’s more than one situation.) Have you reached the point of being tempted to give up and call it quits? If your answer to these questions is an emphatic “Yes,” this letter may encourage you. Every person I have ever known has faced at least one circumstance in life that has caused that kind of frustration. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Everything else may be going fairly well—but there is that one sticky issue that defies resolution, making you want to throw up your hands and say, “I’m done! I give up!” If you fit this description, and you are desperate for a breakthrough, please read on.
Working All Night Long
Two very different incidents from the life of Jesus illustrate His potential to bring a turnaround in seemingly hopeless situations. The first one was not too serious: Peter’s frustrating night without catching a fish. The other was a very desperate matter: the death of the daughter of Jairus. The first incident took place just after Jesus had preached to the multitudes from Peter’s boat. Instead of going ashore, the Master suggested a fishing expedition to the brawny fisherman: “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Peter (the professional fisherman) apprised Jesus (the carpenter/preacher) regarding the reality of the proposed fishing venture: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (verse 5).
The Perfect Preparation
Truthfully, this skeptical fisherman was tired and discouraged. Essentially, his reply to the Lord was, “Okay, Jesus, but don’t get Your hopes up. This probably won’t work. I’m a professional—and I’ve done everything I know to do to get some results. Chances are slim.” Peter had no idea that his moment of breakthrough was just about to happen—a stunning miracle that would change his life forever. “We have toiled all night.” Can you relate? Maybe the frustrating issue you have battled week after week has completely exhausted you. Even after applying every potential solution, you see no sign of improvement or resolution. You may not want to hear what I am about to tell you. But actually, the failure and frustration you are experiencing is the perfect setting for a breakthrough. Think of it. What might have been Peter’s answer to Jesus had he been successful the night before? “No thanks, Jesus. There’s no need for us to go fishing—the boys and I had a great catch last night. Plenty of fish here in the bottom of the boat.” Instead, frustration and failure had become the Lord’s perfect backdrop for Peter’s moment of breakthrough. And the same may be true for you.
A Spark of Hope
The second incident that required a breakthrough was much more serious. In Luke 8, we read that Jairus, a leader in the synagogue, had humbled himself to approach Jesus. He was desperate. His only daughter was dying, and he needed a miracle—the ultimate breakthrough. Apparently, Jesus had agreed to pray for the girl, and they were well on their way to Jairus’ home when their trip was suddenly interrupted. A woman with a serious physical malady reached out and touched Jesus—and everything came to a stop for her healing. Right then, the servants arrived from Jairus’ house to break the news to him: “Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore” (verse 49, NASB). Grief-stricken at this news, Jairus would never have imagined that a turnaround was about to take place. Nevertheless, a spark of hope must have flickered within Jairus when Jesus said to him: “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well” (v. 50). A moment of breakthrough was just around the corner.
Listening to His Voice
Like this story in Luke 8, the dilemma you face may seem too far gone—possibly even dead and irretrievable. You may be struggling against discouraging thoughts similar to what Jairus heard: “Don’t trouble the Master about it any longer. It’s over and done with—hopeless and too far gone. There’s nothing more to be done. It’s time to give up.” But what if you were to ignore those voices? What if instead you listened to what Jesus is saying to you? “Do not be gripped with fear. Just believe in Me. I’ve got this. Watch Me step in and turn this thing around.” It may be that, like Peter’s situation, it will require one more throw of the net; one more step of dogged obedience—just because the Lord says so. Or, as with Jairus, it may involve believing Jesus’ words beyond the stark reality you face—holding on to His spark of hope in the midst of your dark moment. It may require one more journey through the Valley of Achor [trouble] before you see the door of hope open up (see Hosea 2:15). But one truth is clear: with Jesus, there is always the possibility—even when all seems hopeless—of that moment of breakthrough.
The Door of Hope
In a teaching from the Hebrew Series for which he was so well known, Derek Prince touched upon this theme: the breakthrough to hope. In the latter part of his message, "Hebrews 8:7–9:5,” Derek cited our need to wait for the Lord to “show up,” commenting that “…when you realize it won’t work if God doesn’t turn up, He usually turns up.” This statement followed an earlier insight Derek shared about the Hosea 2:15 reference to the Valley of Achor.
In chapter 2 [of Hosea], there comes the promise of a new and eternal covenant, found in verse 16. We need to note that in the two previous verses, verses 14 and 15, the Lord has indicated how He intends to deal with Israel to bring them back into a relationship with Himself.
He says He will allure them and bring them into the wilderness. The word allure is a word that suggests the possibility of a very intimate relationship. Then He says He will give them the valley of Achor for a door of hope. Achor is “trouble.” The phrase “a door of hope” in modern Hebrew is pethach tiqvah, which is the name of a major suburb of Tel Aviv. The Jewish people have seen their return to the land as the door of hope which God promised to open to them. This is one of the ways God deals with people—not just Israel. He allures us; He entices us. Then we find ourselves in the valley of trouble and we say, “Lord, how did I get here and why have You brought me here?” Then the Lord says, “But I’ll open for you out of the valley of trouble a door of hope.” That’s a principle of God’s dealings. I’m sure there are many of us who could look back on experiences where the Lord enticed us. We ended up in the valley of trouble and said, “What’s happened?” Then it turns out the Lord had a secret door that we didn’t know about called the door of hope.
Holding On to God’s Promise
Are you desperate to see the Lord open up this secret door of hope for you? Clearly, Jesus is able to bring the breakthrough you and I need. That is not to imply that He owes it to us. There is no guarantee in the Christian life that the Lord will automatically activate the turnaround you and I are seeking. But we move ahead through the Valley of Achor to get to the door of hope. Would you like to take this opportunity to tell the Lord you trust Him? To willingly place the hopeless, vexing situation you face in His hands for the breakthrough you need? If that is your sincere desire, let’s talk to Him together:
To be honest, Lord, I feel like I could say with Peter: “I’ve toiled all night and caught nothing.” The struggle I face has not yielded to my best efforts to pray, to work and to trust. But I hear You saying, “Let down your nets for a catch.” Here is my response: “Because You say so, I’ll do it. At Your word, I’ll give it another shot.”
Lord Jesus, I place this stubborn situation in Your hands, and I proclaim my trust in You. I believe You can bring forth a miracle. I believe You can produce a moment of breakthrough. I choose to listen to Your voice rather than the nagging thoughts that drag me down. I hear You saying, “Don’t be afraid; believe in Me.” Lord, I will not be gripped by fear any longer. I believe in You and Your power to bring life and victory out of this present circumstance. Even though it seems too far gone for any hope of repair by human standards, You can touch it with Your miraculous power and bring forth life. I give it to you now—trusting You for the breakthrough I need. Amen.