Image created by Wordswag, used with permission.
I have been thinking of you. I have been thinking of the world. If you turn on the news it is quite easy to become unsettled, fearful, or to experience great sorrow.
I asked the Lord what to share and His response was, “Share a message of hope. My children need hope.”
What message could possibly be shared to lighten the load of mother’s losing their children, children losing their parents, bombings, shootings, terrorist attacks, viruses, and the sorrow that is repeated on the news? What about hope in the midst of our own challenges?
Last week I sat in a funeral watching my friend, his children, and our mutual friends grieve a great loss. What do I say to two young children who lost their mother? What do I say to my friend who I know loved his wife deeply. We had so many conversations about the healing power of God. What could I say through his tears and my own? I wept for a very long time. My heart ached deeply. Yet life had to go on right? I spent the night before the funeral trying to clear up other issues. I could not even grieve.
Those around me did not feel or know the pain. It was not their pain. Some did not even acknowledge I had any grief. God, however, did. He did what He does best. He stepped in as a best friend, and brought His unfailing comfort.
Last week and the past month have presented some deep challenges and awesome truimphs. Such is life, right? I found hope, love, help, joy, and comfort in the place I know best, the heart and arms of God.
So, in thinking of what message I could share of hope, I can only think of one thing-God is our sure hope. I only know of one message that can bring hope to a hurting world. The message is Jesus. Hope has a name and it is Jesus. There is no greater name and no greater love or power than the love and power of God.
If we are to place our trust in anyone or anything, let it be God.
Some things we are delivered through…
There are so many things in life we are called to walk through. There is no, “Beam me up Scotty,” and we are transported to a place away from trials. God promises to walk with us through every single challenge; I know no better friend or comforter.
The Bible tells us there will be tests, trials, and tribulations as a result of the fall of humanity and persecution for living a godly life. The Bible says the godly WILL face persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).
God did not leave us without hope. He gave the world His Son, His Spirit, His Presence, His promises, angelic help, and His Word. He also gave believers every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3).
Let’s take a look at His word. I love Psalm 23. Here is an excerpt.
Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me,~Psalm 23:4.
As stated, there are challenging situations we are called to walk through with God. God does not always deliver us from evil. He sometimes delivers us through evil. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. He was not consumed.
We see the uncompromising, supernatural strength and power of God in challenging seasons if we lean on Him. We may be weak or challenged; His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
In a world that says there is no hope, God says:
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows],~John 10:10 (AMP).
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.],~John 16:33 (AMP).
“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character],
Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation],~Isaiah 26:3.
These verses give us keys to living in victory.
- Focus on God.
- Trust God.
- Take refuge in God.
- Set the mind on God.
- Be courageous, confident, filled with joy.
- Fear no evil (from Psalm 23).
Abiding in God and deep friendship/connection with Him brings peace in the midst of trials, challenges, and storms. He is the Source of peace, agape love, joy, and hope.
What are we hoping for, expecting from God?
- God to keep His word! He cannot lie. If God said it, you can expect it to come to pass (1 Thess 5:24, Deut 7:9).
- God to work all things together for the eventual good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).
- God to hear our prayers. The answer may not come exactly the way we think, yet God answers our prayers that align with His will (Matt 21:22, Job 22:27, 1 John 5:14-15).
- God to bring comfort and deliverance (2 Cor 1:4, Psalm 34:19, Psalm 50:15).
- God to empower us to destroy the works of the devil (Acts 1:8). If we have the Holy Spirit, we are already empowered!
- God to help us overcome because He has overcome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith,~1 John 5:4.
- God to turn our sorrow into JOY, our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11).
- God to avenge the wrongs (Romans 12:19).
- God to reward those who stand strong until the end and every person according to what they have done (Romans 2:6, Revelation 22:12).
- Jesus to return and reign on the earth (Matthew 24:29-31).
No matter what we face, we have a sure hope in God. I will share this last story and end in prayer for you.
Part of Operation God is Love ministry is praying for the sick at the free clinic. Last Tuesday, I was on the schedule to go. My heart was already heavy from a loss and some relational issues going on in my circle. I had not slept well in days. Yet, I went and gave thanks.
One of the first ladies prayed for was going through some of the same things that I was either dealing with or had walked through in my life. I wept with her. Almost every time I start to feel a tinge of discouragement, God sends along someone going through the same things I have walked through in life.
This woman left with tremendous hope. Her situation was far more dire than mine, yet to have someone to hold her while she cried and to mourn with her brought some healing. She stated she was over Christian counselors who offered scripture yet had no real experience with victory over pain.
Your (our) challenge is not wasted. God wastes nothing. We can walk out of the fire and stand boldly with someone in their fire. We can be an instrument of hope for someone else.
Our friendship with God is also deepened in trials if we draw near to Him. God is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).
May you and I draw near to God in every season.
Papa God, I ask for every hurting soul to be bathed in Your comfort tonight. I speak peace over torment, pain, chaos, any strife, worry, or relational troubles. I speak life over every dead situation that You want to live. I speak comfort to every place that hurts. May each of us find hope in You alone. You do not fail! In Jesus mighty name, Amen.
Love in Christ,
2 thoughts on “Draw Near to God in Trials (Abiding & Intimacy with God Series Part 8)”
Erin thank you
Sorry that you couldn’t grieve the loss due to other issues. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. These words sink deep in my heart
Thank You Jesus
Thanks Mari. It is one of the sacrifices of leadership. People often do not care about what you have going on, so you must set aside your needs to care for them. Of course you must set boundaries. It is all about wisdom and boundaries, yet if you step into leadership know you will sacrifice a great deal-just like Jesus. Love to you!