The last couple of weeks have been really hard for my mom and I. I’m so grateful for all the prayers on our behalf! The truth that God keeps bringing to my mind is this:
Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.
When my hope is in circumstances, I’m often disappointed. But when my hope is in my wonderful God, I have confidence and peace.
I know many of you are going through difficult circumstances. But I know that God has not abandoned you. He is still your hope. I want to share this chapter from my book about Job. I trust it will encourage you and renew your hope in our faithful God.
Living with chronic illness is a constant battle against discouragement and despair. For years I kept hoping I’d find some answers, hoping my health would improve, hoping my circumstances would change. Instead, day after day, doctor after doctor, treatment after treatment, I seemed to grow worse. Finally I gave up in resignation. “This is my life. Why bother hoping anymore?”
Have you experienced a similar hopelessness in your storm? In the midst of Job’s breaking process, he experienced despair and hopelessness.
If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in darkness…where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me? -Job 17:13, 15
Job had no hope. He was simply waiting for his miserable life to end. Without hope that’s where we are, too. Hope is what motivates us to keep going; it enables us to get out of bed in the morning. Without hope we are just waiting to die.
When the Bible talks about hope, it doesn’t mean wishing for something to happen. It means having a confident expectation in what we know is true. If we only have “hope” (wishful thinking) in circumstances or people, we will continually be disappointed. But we can always have genuine hope (confidence) in our God.
We can hope in God in the darkness because of what we know is true about Him:
• God is in control.
• He is always good.
• His love surrounds us.
• He has a plan and purpose for us.
• He is working out His plan and purpose both now and for eternity.
There are many precious truths about God that we can hold onto in the storm. Which ones immediately come to your mind?
Paul wrote about hope in suffering.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. -Romans 5:2b-5
As Christians we have been given the hope—confident expectation—of one day sharing God’s glory in heaven. We can always rejoice in that hope! However, we can also rejoice in our sufferings. Why? Because suffering is a tool God uses to work a beautiful transformation in our lives.
When we submit to the Lord in our sufferings, He teaches us perseverance. As we rely on God’s strength to persevere, He builds the character of Christ in us. And when the character of Christ fills our lives, we live in continual hope.
This process teaches us that nothing else, no one else, is truly dependable. Circumstances come and go, people can fail us, our own strength gives out. But God never changes. In suffering we can discover the rock-solid character of God. And when our hope is in God, we’ll never be disappointed.
This foundation of hope in God rather than earthly things can also give us hope for our storm. Hope comes from remembering what is true.
*God is all-powerful, with Him all things are possible (Matt. 19:26). We have hope that God can change any situation.
*God is faithful. When the LORD chooses not to change our situation, we know He is developing perseverance in us (Jam.1:2-4). We have hope that the Lord can use our circumstances to change us.
*God is gracious. As He changes us, others will be affected (Phil. 1:12-14). We have hope that even in the midst of our storm, God will bless others through us.
Whatever trials we experience, we can have hope in our unchanging God. The storm won’t last forever. For some, it may continue until the moment they step into eternity and see Jesus face to face. For others, the end of the storm is not so far away…though a new storm may soon appear on the horizon. Because storms come and go and come again, placing our hope in God is vital. Only He never changes.
In my days of despair, God graciously helped me place my hope solely in Him. Eventually, He also gave me hope for my circumstances. Though I was still sick and miserable, I finally had hope that someday I could get well.
I’ve learned that no matter what we’re experiencing, we can have hope—confident expectation—based on who God is and what He has promised.
God is our hope even when it seems nothing is left for us but death. In spite of feeling hopeless, Job knew that God was the only one he could hope in. Job believed his trial would only end at his death. Still he declared: Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him (Job 13:15a).
As the storm rages around you, you may feel like you have nothing left, no hope. But with the LORD, you don’t have to succumb to hopelessness. In those dark moments of despair, when all hope seems gone, let the light of God’s truth shine on you. You may not know what will happen next, but you do know who your God is. He is your hope.
For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth…
But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. -Psalm 71:5, 14