When Hope Is Lost

God delights in showing Himself mighty in hopeless situations on our behalf.

As our vans rolled down the rugged highway in Vietnam, the sun shone brightly, and the temperature hovered around 100 degrees. Vietnam has two seasons: hot and wet! This was my 14th trip since first returning after the war in 1989. Once again, my family was with me, but this time they were going to visit the Montagnard tribes we had been working with since first returning.

We were traveling down Highway 9, heading toward the Laotian border. The villages around Khe Sahn, the scene of fierce fighting during the Tet Offensive, were close. This entire area of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) had seen heavy fighting from 1966 until the end of the war in 1975. The Montagnard tribes had recently begun moving back to their tribal lands.

We pulled off the highway and drove as far as we could on the rutted dirt road. Then we got out to walk the rest of the way to the villages. We stopped in Dong Ha, where we picked up our “local guide,” who we all knew was a member of the secret police. They always went with us when we traveled outside the bigger cities, suspicious of what we might be doing. As we drove along, the not-so-secret policeman kept softly speaking to me, saying, “I saw a miracle. I saw a miracle!” I smiled politely, having no idea what he was talking about.

As we approached the villages, Jim, a team leader who had been there six months earlier, was telling a sad story that happened too often in post-war Vietnam. The team arrived to find the villagers in a panic. The village chief led the team to a home built on stilts. There, they found a critically injured man lying on a mat. He was the chief’s brother-in-law and had been hoeing a garden the day before when he hit a grenade buried in the ground. The explosion left him clinging to life.

Knowing we were a Christian group, the chief asked the team to pray for him. They gathered around the dying man and prayed for healing. They had all felt the man was going to die, as no medical facilities were close by.

As we entered the village, pandemonium broke out, and a crowd quickly gathered around. Soon, the village chief arrived, shouting at people. After a few minutes, the crowd around us parted, and a young man came and stood by the chief. Jim turned to me and said, “That’s him!” “Who?” I asked. Jim replied, “That’s the brother-in-law!” He stood with a huge, beaming smile on his face, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. There was not a scar on his body. As a veteran whose body is covered with scars from a grenade, my mouth dropped in amazement.

To the team, this man’s situation was hopeless. But to God, it was just another opportunity to show Himself faithful. Now I understood the policeman’s whispered words. He had witnessed a miracle by the Hand of God. Hundreds of villagers came to Christ after witnessing this miracle of God’s healing power.

Maybe you’re facing a hopeless situation in your life. Or maybe you look at our country and feel it’s hopeless because the forces of evil seem to be winning, and you have no hope. But God delights in showing Himself mighty in hopeless situations on our behalf. Don’t give up! Trust Him for your victory, for our nation.

What say you, Man of Valor?

Adapted from Men of Honor essay by Roger Helle, 18 March 2024

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