I really don’t struggle to trust that God is faithful. In recent years, I’ve come to understand that this is a gift (the gift of faith?), and I don’t take it for granted. This faith has sustained me through the most difficult circumstances, the lowest valleys, my darkest days.
Even when everything seems hopeless, by God’s grace, I trust that He’ll eventually come through. I know that He has a plan, and He even has a purpose. I know that He is sovereign, always in control, nothing catches Him by surprise.
I Will Hope
The Psalms fascinate me. Some of them are so raw, with such depth of anguish and emotion. To think that God ordained for these deeply personal prayers to be included in His holy Word! Psalms keep my prayer life active when I don’t know how (or what) to pray. For the last several years, I’ve gone through the Psalms multiple times, praying the words as my own.
The Psalmist almost always follows up his cries of despair, discouragement, depression, anger, anxiety, or helplessness with words of hope.
“But I will hope continually and praise You yet more and more…” (Psalm 71:14)
“Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him…” (Psalm 42:5)
“But I call to God, and the Lord will save me…” (Psalm 55:16)
There are so many more I could quote.
During my toughest seasons, God has taught me the blessing of this kind of hope. It’s the “but God” mentality.
“It feels like everything is falling apart… but God is the God of the impossible.” (Jeremiah 32:27)
“Healing of this illness seems impossible… but God is the Great Physician.” (Psalm 103:3)
“I simply cannot handle this… but God‘s power is made perfect in my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:19)
The Painful Best
The thing is, even though I have hope in God… even though I know He is faithful… even though I trust Him to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28)… there is often an apprehension in my heart. What will I have to endure before I see His plan and purpose fulfilled? How painful is it going to be?
C. S. Lewis said:
“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
Lately, I’ve come across a lot of articles and videos that express the reality of hardship in the life of a Christian. We were not promised conflict-free, painless, smooth-sailing lives. On the contrary, we were guaranteed suffering. (Philippians 1:29)
Hope That Does Not Disappoint
So, if we know that God’s plan – God’s best for us – quite possibly will involve discomfort and maybe even pain, how do we have hope?
My hope cannot be in my circumstances. When I’m overwhelmed by despair at yet another month of unemployment and piling bills, my hope cannot be in the economy changing or in job opportunities that may never appear. When I’m weary of illness and battling my body or fighting for healing of a loved one, my hope cannot be in a sudden unknown cure coming to light. When my marriage is failing and I’ve done all I know to do, my hope cannot be in my husband becoming a different person and making it easier for me to love him.
I read this wonderful article a few days ago. The author describes with such clarity what it means to find our hope in Christ, even when it hurts. READ IT. Seriously. Read it.
I’m learning that if I can trust Him to be faithful, I can trust Him to sustain me and carry me through absolutely anything. If I believe that He keeps His promises, that means He has given me everything I need to live out the plan He has for my life. (2 Peter 1:3) God, who is faithful and who keeps His promises and whose Word will be accomplished… He is the source of hope that does not disappoint. (Romans 5:5)
For Further Reading
I’ve read several articles lately that talk about the reality of hardship and how to have hope in the midst of it. May you be encouraged by them as I was.
Strength For Today, Hope For Tomorrow: Holding Onto God When Life Falls Apart