Friday, July 6, 2012
I am currently reading passages of Scriptures dealing with the subject of hope. On my iPad, using the You Version Bible app, there are many topical reading plans listed. Hope is one of those, and it has served as a springboard for me. This reading plan is only three days, but using the concordance on different Bible apps on my iPad as well as the regular concordance in my traditional printed Bible, I am finding enough material to read and study for way more than three days!
We all need hope! Maybe you are experiencing life-changing difficulties like caring for a terminally ill spouse or child, aging parent, or another chronically ill family member. Maybe you yourself are sick--awaiting diagnoses, undergoing treatments, or just suffering from a less threatening physical ailment. Maybe your marriage is falling apart, your personal finances are in shambles, or you have a rebellious child. Maybe you work outside your home, and the stress of your job as well as keeping your home is unbearable at times. Maybe you just need encouragement to cheerfully make it through another day of your regular, uneventful life. Maybe you are overwhelmed by things that you would be embarrassed to complain about, things like mountains of laundry, an unkept house, unruly children, clutter and chaos in your home, and your never ending but ever growing to-do list. Embarrassed, because those types of difficulties seem to pale in comparison to sickness and death of loved ones. But those kinds of difficulties are real too.
Hope comes from living a life pleasing to God. Our hope is not in this world. Our hope is in the reward of eternal life we will receive if we live a life of obedience to our Lord.
"For you are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth." Psalm 71:5
There is such comfort in God's Word.
"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth neither finds fault nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have not might, He increases strength." Isaiah 40: 28-29.
"But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31.
Soon after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a dear friend gave me a copy of the book, Streams in the Desert. It is a wonderful book full of encouragement for those needing hope. This book includes a short entry for each day of the year. Yesterday's entry ended with this quote: "God leads me into hard and difficult places, and it is there I realize where eternal streams abide."
We must look for hope in difficult times. God will never leave us or forsake us.
"And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8
God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Our difficulties, whatever they may be, can be endured if we are a child of God.
"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13
Jesus extends this invitation.
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
And in the book of James, we can read one of my favorite Scriptures.
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2
I have found that the goodness of other people is often found when you are walking through difficult personal circumstances. We can offer hope to those who are suffering--no matter how big or small their problems are. A kind word, a promise to pray, an offer to help out. All of that can make such a positive difference in the life of someone who is going through a tough time.
Whatever your difficulty is today--whether big or small, I hope that you will put your trust in the Lord. That you will lean on Him, obey His Word, and draw hope and encouragement from His promises.