"Finding Hope in Difficult Times"
Hope means "to desire something with confident expectation of it's fulfillment." The state of Hopelessness has been aptly described as a type of "Hell on Earth" filled with endless despondency and despair.
Today, more and more people are finding themselves alone and depressed, and few of us have not at one time or another felt the sting of despondency and despair.
But Good news! Help is available, not the kind the world has wherein it wishes for the best. It is one thing to wish, and quite another to have faith based on the promises of God.
Paul wrote that when you place your trust in God He will fill you with peace, joy, and assurance (Rom 15:13). Throughout the bible God proves His faithfulness to His people by leading them safely through, or delivering them from all their predicaments and troubles. He will never leave or forsake His people; His plans are to prosper, not to harm them (Jer 29:11).
People and things will always let us down. In Psa 33:17, the horse, often used as a symbol of power, is declared a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. In Jer 17:5 God sternly warns against placing our dependency in man, and calls it a curse.
God wants us to trust in Him. Psa 147:11 tells us that He is delighted when we put our trust in Him, and in Heb 10:23 we are told to rely on Him for He who promised it is faithful."
In order to reap the benefits of the Christian life and to have protection, guidance, and comfort from the Holy Spirit one must first be born again and become a child of God.
The born again child of God has the unique privilege of talking to, and hearing from God, but this, the greatest resource available, is often neglected. We should always pray! Even in the darkest moments, when you don't feel His presence, or think you will never smile again, pray anyway, because He is there; He is listening, and is an "ever present help in time of trouble" (Psa 46:1)
"He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us" (2 Cor 1:10).
When we place our faith in God and in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we then trust Him to take us to Heaven. If we can trust Him with our eternity surely we can trust Him for our earthly/daily cares.
Jesus said that as God clothe's the grass of the field, so will He clothe us all the more. He tells us not to worry about what we shall eat or drink or how we will be clothed. The "heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matt 6:30-32)
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Cor 2:9).
Even if you reach what you consider to be your lowest point, God's word say's He will never leave or forsake you (Matt 28:20). He will give you peace and comfort even in the worst of circumstances, then lead you through, over or around the muck and mire of your situation, and again set your feet on solid ground.
Our God is the God of new beginnings, and with Him nothing is impossible. Whether you are very young, or considered to be very old, trust in Him because with Him it is always just the beginning.
You may even find yourself in such a situation through divorce, death of a spouse, loss of health, finances, or whatever, that forces you to begin all over again, but is that so bad? Trusting God in difficult times forces us to seek His guidance, and to trust in Him.
Trusting God through these uncharted waters takes faith and courage but is worth every effort. The path of His choosing is the only one that leads to true happiness,
Isn't this a wonderful promise "...those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Is 40:31).
A shining example of living with hope is Victor Frankel, a former prisoner in a Nazi prison camp.
"As a long-time prisoner in bestial concentration camps he [Viktor Frankl] found himself stripped to naked existence. His father, mother, brother, and his wife died in camps or were sent to gas ovens, so that, excepting for his sister, his entire family perished in these camps.
How could he - every possession lost, every value destroyed, suffering from hunger, cold and brutality, hourly expecting extermination - how could he find life worth preserving?" Frankl clearly saw that it was those who had nothing to live for who died quickest in the concentration camp."
In one of his darkest moments while digging in a cold icy trench, he writes: "In a last violent protest against the hopelessness of imminent death, I sensed my spirit piercing through the enveloping gloom. I felt it transcend that hopeless, meaningless world, and from somewhere I heard a victorious 'Yes' in answer to my question of the existence of an ultimate purpose.
At that moment a light was lit in a distant farmhouse, which stood on the horizon as if painted there, in the midst of the miserable grey of a dawning morning in Bavaria. 'Et lux in tenebris lucent'--and the light shineth in the darkness."
"This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. 'I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,' she told me. 'In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.'
Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, 'This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.' Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. 'I often talk to this tree,' she said to me. I was startled and didn't quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. 'Yes.' What did it say to her? She answered, 'It said to me, "I am here--I am here--I am life, eternal life." (Thanks to "www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/frankl/frankl.html" for the above quotations.)
Christians often find a depth of peace that passes understanding during times of crises and trials; times that may even drive others to drink or suicide. This is the blessed comfort of the Holy Spirit who indwells each and every born again believer.
Through Him, even in the midst of terrible devastating and humiliating experiences we can have the peace, joy, and hope that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7). God's promises can be our genuine source of hope that does not disappoint.
Jesus is our solid rock, and because of Him death is not the end! Even when we are carried by the angels to our glorious home in Heaven we can know that He is with us, and that it is just the beginning!
Claim His promises for it is in His promises you will find everlasting life and confident hope. "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ" (2 Cor 1;20).
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God" (Psa 42:5)
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