There is hardly a person I know right now who doesn’t have something or someone in their life going through a difficulty. For some, it is financial. For some, it is personal relationships. For some, it is a devastating health problem. And for some, it is the result of bad decisions…and for others – nothing at all of their own making – Stuff Happens.
It’s hard not to make that ‘thing’ the focus of thought, conversation and planning. It’s hard not to set aside whatever someone is dealing with and wake each morning with anticipation. It’s hard to look forward to things…
For the believer, there’s always hope.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
A believer knows that behind everything…God has a plan. God is in complete control. That doesn’t mean he walks before us and clears the path of our lives to make sure we don’t fall. That like a parent for a child covers corners, provides locks on cabinets…preventing tragedy.
God provides His Strength
“He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.” Isaiah 40:29
There are numerous examples in the Bible of those God gave strength to in times of trouble. One of the most notable is David. He was a young man whom God determined would one day be king. This placed him in a very difficult position for many, many years…But, through it all those difficult situations provided him a place of understanding and the opportunity to cry out to God – to find peace and hope.
“To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord. Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Your name’s sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You. Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all their troubles!” Psalm 25
Believing Brings Peace in Hope
Knowing that God is…that God has a plan and that God is in control – brings peace in hope. Having a relationship with God where we spend time with Him reading His word and praying strengthens our ability to trust Him and to turn to Him with ALL our needs.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
When difficulty comes, and we have been exercising our faith – we can have hope. Even if for a brief moment we succumb to fear, pain and sadness…we can return to hope.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,” Hebrews 6:19
We Learn to Praise God Through the Storms
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Paul dedicated his life to the service of our LORD. This placed him in dire circumstances many times. He was beaten, stoned and placed in prison. He continued, however, to about telling everyone the Good News of the Gospel of Christ. He even labored and attempted to change the hearts of those who oppressed him. Why? Because he saw beyond all that is here – all of the experiences on this earth. He knew – this is not it. There is a place where all sorrow and pain will be gone. We who believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ will some day be with Him…what happens today will not last forever.
There is Something More
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” II Corinthians 4:16-18
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
I know it’s hard. I’ve walked through very hard times. I have close loved ones who are walking right now through very difficult times…I hope to encourage them to remind them there’s hope.
As with each new dawning day – the hope of our one day being with Christ gets closer and closer….the most important thing is to focus on that – not circumstances. And, to look around…how many people can we shine this light of hope on – to take with us to this blessed place we will one day call home. Hope. Know God is with you. Lean on good friends who believe – cry out to God….He’s there and will give to you strength, peace and knowledge –
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Hope…my dear friend. Rest in Hope and find joy there too.