Today, I want to take a few minutes of your time to share with you some of what I’ve been learning from God in this season. As you read this, my prayer is that the “God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Here are some hopeful thoughts for us today…
HOPEFUL THOUGHT # 1
THIS WILL PASS! The hardships and difficulties of today will be the stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness tomorrow. The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “there is a season for everything” Ecclesiastes 3. The Psalmist said, “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5.
Morning will eventually come. I once heard that a Christian’s joy and hope is believing that when you are in the valley, you will one day see the mountaintops. Honestly, it goes much deeper than that. Our hope is not tied to our circumstances, but to a Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. Life and circumstances will shift and change, but Christ remains our strong tower, our anchor in the storm, the unchanging everlasting God! As Corrie Ten Boom once said, “If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.” Let your soul be at rest, Christian; the sovereign God of the universe is on the throne and this will pass! Things at some point will settle down and life will get back to normal, but that might not be an entirely good thing. This leads me to my next hopeful thought…
HOPEFUL THOUGHT # 2
When things settle down and get back to normal, let’s not forget the lessons that God is going to teach us in the days and weeks to come! God redeems our tears and He uses our trials. Psalm 56 tells us that God “keeps track of all my sorrows, You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” James reminds us,
2 Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
My grandmother grew up during the great depression. She learned to not waste anything (I remember all of her sugar packets were from local restaurants…wait, wouldn’t that be considered stealing? I digress, back to our regularly scheduled programming…). In the same way, God uses and redeems our trials, He never wastes them.
In the face of adversity and crisis, it’s normal for us to question. The question we most often ask is “WHY?” WHY is not a terrible question. We certainly want to learn from our hardships, especially the ones of our own doing. “WHY” can be a wise question to ask in some circumstances, but when a situation presents itself that is beyond our control the better question to ask is “WHAT?”
I’ve always believed that trials don’t always make or break you as much as they reveal you.
In the days and weeks to come, God may be revealing to each of us some things about ourselves, and many things about who He is that we might seriously need to address. A posture of humility before God would ask, “God WHAT are you trying to teach me through this?” “WHAT areas of my life do I need to surrender and trust you more with?” It would be tragic to learn these lessons, but then when life goes “back to normal” we forget what we’ve learned and do life as we’ve always done it. I pray that we all come out of this refined by the Refiner’s fire. I pray that when I come out of this time of seclusion and social distancing that I look, talk, and act more like Jesus! How about you?
Finally, as I read Scripture, I believe that being hopeful and encouraged is rooted in good old fashioned gratitude! Read the following verses from Colossians 3 and notice how many times the word thanks or thankful shows up…
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:15-17
My closing challenge is this: take some time each day to find and list the things that you are thankful for. Count your blessings. Write them down and when you are tempted to give in to fear, depression, or discouragement, call these things to mind and praise God for them.
Stay healthy and hopeful, family!