“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” —Romans 15:13 (NLT)
Hope is such a beautiful word. According to Merriam-Webster, hope is “to cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true.” When I start speaking about hope, the feelings are beautiful, positive, full of joy and anticipation. As Christians, our hope is found in our relationship with Christ. Through the shedding of His blood, Christ offered atonement for our sins; and in turn, we are allowed unimpeded access to the throne room of God and eternal life with Him. What an amazing gift, one that fills my heart with joy, peace, thankfulness, and hope!
As followers of Christ we talk about all of our hope being in Him, and when life is moving along smoothly, it is easy to live and believe that statement. It is easy to believe that God is good, all His ways are right, and His plan is perfect when there is little adversity. But what happens when our world turns upside down? When we are struck, out of the blue, with a hopeless situation – is God still good? Is there still cause to hope?
Until a little more than a year ago my family’s life was normal. Mom, Dad, and three kids (ages 11, 8, & 7) living a full life, busy with jobs, church, and activities. Then one day everything changed. Our youngest was diagnosed with inoperable, terminal brain cancer. The survival rate for this type of cancer is 0%. No treatment has proven effective, and there is no cure. The world told us that there was no hope. In that moment, we turned to the only source of hope we knew—Jesus.
For six months, we walked closer to the Lord than we ever had before. We spent time with Him every day, filled ourselves with His Word, prayed unceasingly, believed in healing, and made the most beautiful memories as a family, treasuring every beautiful moment together. Along the way, our precious child prayed to receive Christ as her Savior, and all three of our children were baptized. We proclaimed God’s goodness through the entire journey and on November 15, 2016, God answered our prayers for complete healing – just not the way we wanted. He took our baby girl home to heaven.
You may be reading this and wondering, “Why did she feel the need to share this?” The answer is simple: I want you to know that these next words come from someone who has experienced overwhelming loss, excruciating despair, and who battles unending grief. Watching my child slip away, with no way to stop it—I know how hopeless feels.
Perhaps you find yourself in a hopeless situation in your health, job, finances, marriage, or children. Maybe you are struggling to see God’s goodness or find reason to hope. If so, my friend, these words are just for you…
God is good.
His ways are perfect.
He does not make mistakes.
He loves you with a never-ending love.
He will carry you through to completion.
How do I know these things are true? I’ve had the opportunity to see God prove them true in my life many times over. How can you experience the same relationship with Christ? The answer is simple, but not easy. Surrender your will to His. Choose to believe His plan is better than your own. Willingly follow Him.
Once you put those pieces in place, your perspective begins to shift, and you begin expecting to see God’s goodness—no matter the circumstances. And as you see the evidence of God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness prove itself in good days and bad, you will find the ability to hope, in every season.
No, it isn’t easy. It requires determination to hold fast to the fact that God is good, even when the circumstances around you are screaming otherwise. But oh my friend, it is SO worth it! Following are some of my favorite promises that remind me that trials are just an opportunity to grow and trust more:
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” —Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. ” —James 1:2-3 (NLT)
“God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” —Psalm 18:30 (NLT)
“Let us hold onto the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful.” —Hebrews 10:23 (CSB)
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