It has been said that man can live forty days without food, three days without water, and eight minutes without air, but only one second without hope. A scientific experiment by Duke University proved this to be true. A group of behavioral scientists put some rats in a tank of water and observed them to see how long they would survive before drowning. The average time was 17 minutes.

The scientists repeated the experiment; but this time they rescued the rats just before the point of drowning, dried them off, and returned them to their cages. Then they fed the creatures, let them play for a few days, and repeated the drowning experiment. This time, the average survival time for these rats increased from 17 minutes to 36 hours. The scientists explained this by saying the second time around, the rats had hope. They believed that they could survive this hardship because they had done so before.

Every time you hear about God answering someone’s prayer, every time you see Him provide for their needs and satisfy their desires, it should give you hope that He will do the same in your life. What’s more, every time you see God do any of these things in your life, you should have hope which will carry you through your next “faith moment.” Our hope is not in favorable circumstances, but in the God who brings these circumstances together. This hope gives us confidence that regardless of what challenges the next moment holds in store, we can survive because God has come through before.

Many people go through life without hope. Their hopelessness is seen in their negative outlook. Others have grown impatient and given up hope. They don’t believe they will ever see God come through for them. Then there are those who are full of hope. They see every blessing in their lives and in the lives of others as reason for hope in God. These people are confident that they will make it through their hardships because they’ve seen God do it before. Which person do you want to be?

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder