It is in challenging times we often lose hope. Trials and hurtful situations can leave us feeling alone and lost. When we strive to live for Christ finding hope in difficult times will give us the perseverance to move forward.
Finding Hope in Difficult Times – Striving to Live for Christ
I didn’t give permission! And I can’t recall a time when I gave God permission, either. And if we are on the subject, who allowed all this heartfelt pain to ensue. Because as the bible states; “If God is for us, who can be against us.” is surely for us, then why am I suffering so?
Sure, when I became a Christian many years ago, I knew the King of Kings would use me for his glory and purpose. But why on earth am I sitting here now, desperate to find a way out of this terrible anguish?
Over and over again, I say on repeat: “It wasn’t my fault.” If I knew this was going to be a part of my journey, I know for a fact I would never have ever signed up. Saying yes to God back then was easy. Little did I know (hind site speaking) that my little mustard seed faith would make me feel all alone and trapped.
Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the light.” – John 14:6 And this is what I did. I decided to follow Jesus, but now I feel like I am ready to take it all back.
Why do Christ-followers seem to suffer so much?
I look around, my eyes open, and see only my truest Christian friends going through personal trials, but yet they seem happy. I am so confused.
The connection of happiness; joy, in fact, — should not be assigned to loss and suffering. But here I am, being just an observer, still small in my walk with Christ and not understanding.
I quizzed one of my Christian friends to find an answer. She instinctively pulled out her bible. In my mind, thinking Dr. Google would have been quicker to have come up with a relative answer. But here we are, thumbing through the Bible. she briefly stops, points her finger, and whispers, “here is it”.
She begins to read from the book of James.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-6
“Uh”, I think. I just don’t understand how am I supposed to find pure joy when I am suffering so much. I feel stuck.
Ever see one of those shows where someone is hiking alone with their dog (of course) and suddenly they walk right into a pit of quicksand? Their arms start to flail and they sink deeper and deeper. This is where I see myself. Well, I mean if I were physically sitting in a pit of quicksand. Further and further I go, one loss after another. Who is going to be my savior and toss a long sturdy branch in my direction to save me from going completely under?
I reread this verse multiple times; “pure joy?” Then it hits me. As they say, I had a lightbulb moment. “Jesus will!” He was born to be a savior for all of us. Oh, how could I have been so lost, not to see this?
God’s vision for all of us
Dear sister in Christ; Jesus never promised that when we follow Him, it would bring us high into the mountain tops. Did you notice all those peaks all have valleys in between them? And for good reason. Daily, we must strive to be more like Christ. In our walk with Him. He will show us how to love more, worry less, and seek His Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).
All this means is sometimes we have to be in a valley to journey to a mountain top blessing. In order for God to get us to our next lean-to as we venture up, God must prepare us. Pain, loss, and suffering will prune us for growth opportunities. But if we chose to fall into a quicksand pit of despair, screaming “woe as me”. We miss the point and fall deeper in.
Satan wants us to look around searching for a “Plan B”. This is the plan that benefits only us.
Remember when we decided to follow Jesus? It was never about us. It was always about inviting Him into our lives. Why would we ever choose to make a decision to lose ourselves and take up the cross of Jesus?
It is simple, actually. We were not meant to do life alone. When God sent His son Jesus to walk the earth, He did it to grow and nurture a relationship with us. His ministry was all about stretching our faith to follow the one who will show us the way. When He died on the cross for our sins; God sent an advocate (the Holy Spirit) so we would never be alone.
A never fail relationship
God wants you. He loves you deeply. In fact, He loves you so much that He knew you before you were born (Jeremiah 1:5). He is preparing you for an amazing path, one He has put in place especially for you. No one will take this same exact journey, similar maybe, but never the same.
You are very special to Him. Jesus extends an invitation to those who are;
- Are carrying unnecessary burdens
- Want to receive freedom from slavery (sins/addictions)
- Are mentally, physically, and spiritually tired.
- All OF US!!!
Too often, we decide to carry our heavy burdens and not to hand them over to God. Burden such as bitterness, resentments, envy, arrogance, and so on make it difficult to walk straight and cause hiccups in our Christian walk. However, as long as there is a God, there is HOPE. Praise the Lord for His Goodness.
When we give God all of today, our hope in Him surpassed any circumstances we face tomorrow.
Let us pray together
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for your never-changing hope. And we thank you for all these circumstances we face today. We know, that all things work out for those who love the Lord. Remind us of your invitation to, “Cast all your cares upon me,” even when the days are busy and tough. God, you know all the desires of our hearts and understand the tough times we face in our weakness. We lay all our worries, doubt, and anxiety at your feet. For we know you can do more than we could ever guess, imagine or request in our wildest dreams.
In your precious name, Jesus – Amen!