How does one stay positive in a negative world? Is it possible to find hope in the midst of heartbreak or make sense out of that which we are not meant to understand? Where are the happy endings we read about in fairy tales?
During my quiet time this morning I prayed for many friends who are suffering with cancer. Why are so many people sick? Just in my church, people are coming down with difficult to diagnose illnesses which are depleting their strength and energy and baffling their health care providers. Others are simply so discouraged that they cannot function. Any sense of purpose they might have has been overshadowed by the constant distractions of dealing with job and financial stress, relational conflict, and the physical and emotional drain they feel as a result.
Sometimes the unthinkable happens to innocent victims. The woman and three girls pictured here were recently abducted from their home by a family friend. That “friend” murdered the mom and older sister before hiding out with the younger two. Although the two younger daughters were found alive and the kidnapper is no longer a threat, these girls have lived through a nightmare that has forever changed them. Please pray for Alexandria, Kyliyah, and their dad as they put back together the shattered pieces of their lives and bury their loved ones.
Even the little stresses of life — broken appliances, flat tires, unruly children — can come at us from a dozen different directions and leave us feeling battered and bruised. The molehills become mountains which we are ill-equipped to climb. How can we live joyfully when we would rather crawl in bed, pull the cover over our heads, and sleep through the unpleasantness of it all? How can we offer hope to others when we have so little of it ourselves?
The answer is simple really. One word. God’s Word. As we read the Bible, God reveals himself to us. He reveals his promises for peace (Isaiah 26:3), provision (Philippians 4:19), healing (James 5:16), salvation (Romans 10:13), protection (Proverbs 2:8), and deliverance (Psalm 3:8), giving us hope in the bleakest of circumstances. As God reveals himself to us, we see that he truly is loving (1 John 3:1), all-powerful (Mark 1:7), all-knowing (Psalm 139), capable of doing immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We learn that God loves us so much that he gave everything, sacrificing the very life of his only Son so that we could live free from the death penalty our sins deserve (John 3:16). Because of God’s promises, we have hope — the assurance that he will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5), that he will supply all our needs (Matthew 6:33-34), that he will save those who call upon his name (Acts 4:12), that he will forgive us when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9), that he has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), that he is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28), and that he is preparing a place for those of us who have received his free gift of salvation (John 14:2-3), in heaven where there are no more tears and no more suffering (Revelation 21:4).
If you don’t have hope, read God’s Word and ask God to reveal himself to you. If you know God, then stand on the promises of his Word in every circumstance of life. Pray that God will use you to make a difference in the lives of those around you. That is a prayer that God will answer because he knows we need more harbingers of hope!
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