Sometimes life gives us the kinds of trials that are like a sprained ankle – it hurts, it’s aggravating to change how we walk, it takes our patience to wait for it to heal. But we can still make it to work, go out with friends and keep up with most of our life.
But life can also dish up real suffering that feels more like an entire leg amputation. Sure, we’re still breathing, but life is completely different. The pain is intense and we fear it might be forever, our emotions are raw as we process all the change and the healing will not restore life as it was but life as it now is.
This kind of suffering shakes us to the core. We find ourselves walking a path we could never have imagined, struggling to pick up the broken pieces of a life we never planned on.
A few years ago, I walked with a dear friend through this kind of life-shattering event. We were young moms and our days revolved around sippy cups and naptime, playdays and tee ball. My friend and her husband had three little boys with wide grins and neatly tapered haircuts. They were active at church and in the community. We spent hours on her storybook front porch watching a yard full of kids hard at play, while we shared the frustrations, questions and hilarity of mothering.
One morning, she called with devastating news. Out of nowhere, her husband had announced he had never loved her. He was filing for divorce and the more she begged him to try and work it out, the more callous he became.
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Her life, her heart, her future were split wide open. Would her boys be okay? Would her heart ever mend? And how would she pay next month’s mortgage?
Amid the circumstances that capsize everything we’ve known and send our thoughts swirling in fear and uncertainty, there is a hope that anchors.
Paul sure experienced those kind of circumstances. He’d been beaten and arrested multiple times, shipwrecked, harassed, rejected, thrown out, opposed and insulted.
He didn’t pray for hope; He prayed to the God of hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Hope anchored in God is more than wishful thinking.
It’s not optimism and it’s not the power of positive thinking, as healthy as those might be. See, we use the word hope casually – as if crossing our fingers, closing our eyes and wanting it badly enough might make it come true. But that’s not the hope we have in God.
Biblical hope is “an expectation, trust, confidence . . . an expectation of what is sure and certain.”
Be confident in it.
Be sure of it.
Be certain in it.
We may not know how God will get us through, but we know God WILL get us through.
- Hope means life won’t always look like this.
- Hope means life won’t always feel like this.
- Hope means we can have peace while we walk it out.
Hope is not rooted in something but in Someone.
Hope fills the gap between our need and God’s fulfillment. It helps us walk out the unexpected middle with confidence that God will fulfill all that He’s promised.
Ultimately, hope for the believer goes beyond our circumstances here to an eternity with God, without pain and suffering.
If your hope is flagging right now, let’s not pray for hope. Let’s pray to the God OF hope. Tell Him your need. Give Him your broken heart. And then go ahead and expect to see what He’s already doing.
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